Prep track and field: Trojans score Class B wins at Steve Roth Relays

Mar. 27—WASHINGTON — Being the first outdoor meet of the season has its challenges.

The Steve Roth Relays seems to pose the same challenge each year. For runners heading down the front stretch at Case Field, a stiff head wind once again was waiting around the second turn.

At least Ben Boatright had one lap to get acclimated to the conditions on Thursday. The Fairfield senior also had a significant lead to work with heading into the final lap of the distance medley relay, allowing Boatright to run to an opening-meet win as the Trojans secured an season-opening time of 3:52.71, winning the Class B division title by over eight seconds over the Iowa City West junior varsity and nearly 10 seconds over Class 2A state hopeful Mediapolis.

"Gabe (Tejada) got me in a good spot decently ahead of everyone, so I just had to try and run fast to keep that lead," Boatright said. "I just tried to hang with it and not slow down when I hit that wind. I didn't realize just how stiff it was when I hit it on the first lap. By the second lap, I was expecting it, so I was able to pace myself.

"It caught me off-guard at first, but I was able to power through it."

Tejada, Boatright, Aidan Kreuter and Dylan Adam got their outdoor track season off to a successful start, breaking four minutes in their first distance medley run of the spring. The Fairfield teammates combined to post the fourth-fastest all-around time regardless of class, finishing only behind Class A meet record holder Iowa City West (3:32.62), Ankeny Centennial (3:46.42) and Class C champion Danville (3:40.07).

Not bad for a team that entered the meet just hoping to crack four minutes in their first outdoor run.

"We all ran pretty decent times," Boatright said. "For a relay that was basically thrown together, we're pretty happy with that. Hopefully, we can stick together. You figure we have to run faster as the weather gets warmer."

Fairfield finished fourth overall in the Class B team standings with 71 points. Despite failing to clear six feet for the first time this season, Ryan Giberson claimed the Class B high jump title for the Trojans edging West Burlington junior Mason Watkins by clearing 5-10 in fewer jumps.

Giberson added a third-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing the race in 16.08 seconds. Caden Allison also brought home a Class B title for Fairfield in the shot put, clearing 39 feet and 9.5 inches to beat out Ankeny Centennial junior Lucas Juravich by over two feet.

"Ryan wasn't happy with his high jump, but he came back and ran a really good time in the 110 high hurdles," Fairfield head boys track and field coach Brian Dunlap said. "Our relays showed up really well. Our 4x100, our sprint medley, even our young kids in the 4x200 produced encouraging results. We learned a lot about ourselves. We did some really good things."

With several varsity athletes scheduled to compete the following day in Mason City at the Iowa Alliance Conference indoor meet, the opportunity for several Ottumwa athletes to step up and compete in the first outdoor meet of the season. Mason Gravett made his varsity debut for the Bulldogs finishing 13th in both the 100-meter dash in 12.31 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 25.26 leading through five of the 10 heats.

"I thought I ran a pretty good time in the 200. It was pretty exciting to see each heat go by and still have the lead in the race," Gravett said. "Everyone wanted the chance to get out and run. We've been inside practicing for a long time. It was good to get out there and get some running in."

Gravett anchored Ottumwa's 4x100 team to a ninth-place finish in the Class A 4x100 meter relay joining Talan Wilson, Mason Winchell and Kinnick Monohon in producing a time of 51.59 seconds. Monohan, Warner Cook, Kevin Heston and Colton Moore produced a 10th-place finish for the Bulldogs in the 4x200 relay in 1:52.87.

Roman Laux also picked up a top-10 finish for the Bulldogs in the field. The Ottumwa senior opened his final outdoor high school track and field season clearing 100 feet in the discus for the first time, ultimately producing a career-best throw of 117 feet and seven inches placing 10th in Class A.

"When you see that first throw of the season in the first meet go that far, it gets you fired up for what's next," Laux said. "I want to reach 120 feet. Having that competition is good. We've got a good throwing crew on the team this year. We've all made lots of improvement already. We're all working hard together to get better. Everyone is pushing each other. It's not just a single-person sport. You've got all your teammates around you to help you get better."

Both Fairfield and Ottumwa head back outside on Thursday night, competing at the Mount Pleasant Invitational. For many of the Bulldog athletes, it will be the first outdoor test of the season.

"It's really hard to say what we can achieve this season. Ottumwa track is kind of notorious in needing a few weeks to get our feet underneath us," Ottumwa head boys track and field coach John Lawrence said. "Our field events are coming along. Our sprinters are coming along. I wish we had more depth in our long distance, but Lucas (Peace) is a pretty good one to have."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.