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MEDAL OF HONOR

Dodgers 4th in 4x100 at Drake Relays

Submitted photo by Mike Hughes: Jake Erickson competes for Fort Dodge on Thursday at the Drake Relays.

DES MOINES — A long day at the Drake Relays yielded mixed results for the Fort Dodge boys track program here on Thursday.

The Dodgers placed in the 4×100-meter relay, finishing fourth with a finals time of 43.21. The quartet of senior Christian Davidson, junior Jake Erickson, senior Sam Daniel and senior Tyler Schreier earned FDSH’s first medal at Drake since 2015.

“It was great to see how we stack up with everyone in the state,” Dodger head coach John McBride said. “This was a tough (single-day) format, but we didn’t make any excuses and worked our way through it. I’m proud of how we did overall, and this gives us a good look at what we’ll be facing moving forward if we want to be up there at the top. We’re right there.”

Southeast Polk (42.39) was the event champion, edging West Des Moines Valley (42.43). Indianola (43.06) took third ahead of the Dodgers, who had the third-fastest qualifying time and solidified the No. 3 seed after Thursday morning’s preliminary round.

“It was a great experience for both myself and the team,” Erickson said. “Running with the best competition in the state and knowing that we can keep up with them is a huge confidence-booster.

“That being said, we still have work to do with our relays. Overall, it was fun experience and I’m proud of my team. I’m ready to get back to work and show we can compete. We will be ready by the state meet and bringing home some medals.”

Fort Dodge had high hopes in the 4×200-meter relay as well, but a dropped baton on the last leg of the race left the Dodgers’ same foursome on the outside looking in.

“The kids were disappointed, but it happens sometimes,” McBride said. “The main thing is we didn’t want the 4×2 to affect their 4×1 performance, which it didn’t.”

Schreier was also 10th in the long jump and 16th in the 100-meter dash. The FDSH all-stater recorded the fifth-best Class 4A mark in the long jump (21-1.5), and was eighth in the 100 among 4A participants (11.34).

“Tyler competed in three events within the first 45 minutes,” McBride said. “He was stretched pretty thin. He went from the 4×1 finish over to the long jump, which wasn’t easy to do. But it’s encouraging to see where he stacks up.

“The guys all just made the most of it. Missing last year definitely gave them a more appreciative, mature perspective as far as not worrying too much about the little things and just being thankful in the moment.”

Davidson, a transfer from Pocahontas Area, called it an “awesome experience to run at such a prestigious event.”

“It feels really good to medal in the 4×1, as we were running against the fastest teams in the state,” Davidson said. “There was great competition and we showed we were right there.

“(Thursday) was a huge confidence booster when looking forward to the state meet. We know what to expect, and I know we can compete with any of the teams there.”

Daniel was pleased with the performance as a hopeful harbinger for state, which is a month away.

“Our 4×1 ran really well, and the best part was the competition,” Daniel said. “Running below a 43 (in the prelims) gives us a lot more confidence, especially with state right around the corner.

“We are right there in the mix with everyone else — we just have to keep practicing and fixing those little mistakes.”

The Dodgers’ 4×400-meter relay team of Erickson, senior Jerry Chada, senior James Daniel and junior Eli Elsbecker crossed in 18th with a season-best time of 3:29.80.

Fort Dodge had two middle school 4×100 relay squads in action as well. The Dodger eighth grade girls finished 21st, as Mariah Myers, Meah McCaleb, Cadence Tooney and Ashlyn Wills ran a 57.10. The FDMS eighth grade boys took 22nd in 52.02 behind Hunter Richardson, Gavin Bacon, Cade Westerhoff and Jase Nekvinda.

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