Quick out of the blocksWashington had possibly its best start to a season at Monday's Demon Indoor
IOWA CITY — In the first four years that the Washington girls’ track and field team hosted the Demon Indoor, the squad had never had a night like it did on Monday evening.
Running and jumping and throwing against the likes of Davenport North, West Des Moines Valley, Iowa City West and many other larger schools from around the state, the Demons finished in the top 10 in four events at Monday’s season-opening meet inside the University of Iowa Rec Building in Iowa City.
“It’s actually our best start coming in here and placing,” said Washington head coach Stefanie Tschantz, whose team is off to an outstanding start in her first season as the Demons’ head coach. “I didn’t expect to place that well, to be honest.”
The Demons didn’t expect to perform as well as they did because they’ve only practiced outdoors twice so far this spring. And the girls who played on Washington’s basketball team that reached the regional final have only had a week of practice.
“Doing well at this first meet with barely any practices and all of our practices inside just shows that we can have a good season,” said junior Stephanie Fishback, who was a guard on the Washington girls’ basketball team this winter.
Despite not running much so far this season, Fishback went out and took sixth place in the 200-meter dash in 28.06 seconds.
“I didn’t know how well I was going to be able to do considering I’ve only had about three days of practice and they’ve all been indoors, but getting out and running again just felt good,” Fishback said. “I got a decent time, which is what I was hoping for.”
It was the best time a Washington athlete has ever clocked in the 200 at the Demon Indoor. And it came from an athlete who had mostly run 400s and 800s during her first two seasons of track and field.
“I’m going to be nice to her and let her run some 200s,” Tschantz said. “She showed she can do it, because she got sixth tonight. She’s got speed.”
Fishback also showed she can still run 400s, too, clocking a 63.5-second split in the 4x400 relay. The quartet of Mariah Reighard, Sammy Ellingson, Macy Marek and Fishback finished 11th in 4:30.47.
Ellingson and Lauren Kimball, a pair of senior high jumpers who played basketball and hadn’t even practiced jumping yet this season, both finished in the top five in the event. Ellingson cleared 5-1 to tie for second place, the best finish a Washington athlete has had in the event in the history of the Demon Indoor. Ellingson, a three-time Drake Relays qualifier in the high jump, cleared 5 feet and took third place at last year’s Demon Indoor.
Additionally, Kimball, who placed sixth in Class 3A at the state track meet last spring, cleared 4-10 and tied for fifth place on Monday night.
“That’s awesome for them not working on it yet this year,” Tschantz said.
Thrower Joni Erwin didn’t go out for the basketball team this year, and instead the senior spent the winter working in the weight room. It paid off on Monday night, as Erwin had a personal-best throw of 36 feet, 6 inches to take fourth place in the shot put. Erwin’s throw was also the best a Washington athlete has ever had at the Demon Indoor.
“Since I didn’t do basketball this year, I’ve been working out in the mornings with Coach [Randy] Schrader and Coach [James] Harris and Coach [Scott] Danielson,” Erwin said. “I’ve really been lifting hard and working hard on that to improve my strength. I’m just working on my agilities and stuff like that to improve my footwork. That’s really helped me a lot.”
Erwin’s throw of 36 feet, 6 inches was nearly a foot further than her previous best of 35 feet, 7.5 inches, which came at last year’s Washington Invite at Case Field. Her personal-best throw came on her second attempt of the night.
“I just went out there and did it,” she said. “We haven’t had much practice yet this year because we’ve been inside because of the snow, so I just kind of went out there and threw it, and it turned out really well. I felt it was pretty good, but I didn’t think it was going to be that good. Hopefully as my technique gets better over the season I’ll improve more.”
Junior Grace Redlinger, who didn’t go out for track last spring, clocked a time of 1:07.31 to take seventh place in the 400-meter dash. She, too, played basketball this winter, so she could also improve even more.
“I think everyone just did their best times,” Fishback said. “Grace, who hasn’t ran for like two years, came out and ran a 1:07 and just surprised everybody. I think everybody just did really well tonight with their times.”
Marek, who finished 31st in the 60-meter dash last year as a freshman with a time of 8.87 seconds, qualified for the finals of the event on Monday night with a preliminary time of 8.56 seconds. She clocked a time of 8.64 seconds in the finals to take 15th place. Additionally, junior Dema Giardino missed qualifying for the finals by two-hundredths of a second, finishing 17th in 8.59 seconds.
Washington’s performances on Monday night have the Demons excited about what the rest of the 2013 season may hold.
“Overall, I think it was a great starting meet because we really haven’t had that much practice with the whole team,” Erwin said. “So I think it was a good starting meet for everybody. We were competitive in quite a few events, so I’m sure it’s going to be a great track season.”
University of Iowa Rec Center
March 4, 2013
High jump — 2. Sammy Ellingson (W) 5-1, 5. Lauren Kimball (W) 4-10, 18. Macy Marek (W) 4-2.
Shot put — 4. Joni Erwin (W) 36-6, 29. McKayla Miller (W) 28-6.25, 38. Makenna Goodwin (W) 25-7.5.
60-meter dash — 15. Macy Marek (W) 8.64, 17. Dema Giardino (W) 8.59, 40. Maddie Bohr (W) 9.15.
200-meter dash — 6. Stephanie Fishback (W) 28.06, 18. Rachael Hall (W) 29.12, 42. Natalee Enfield 30.49.
400-meter dash — 7. Grace Redlinger (W) 1:07.31, 25. Addison Gaal (W) 1:09.48, 36. Kaitlin Hora (W) 1:11.33.
1,500-meter run — 43. Jasmine Mares (W), 6:18.98.
60-meter hurdles — 24. Kaitlin Buchholz (W) 10.63, 28. Sammy Ellingson (W) 10.77, 41. Emma Wood (W) 11.29.
4x400 — 11. Washington (Mariah Reighard, Sammy Ellingson, Macy Marek, Stephanie Fishback) 4:30.47, 33. Washington B (Addison Gaal, Aubrey Zimmer, Emma Wood, Kaitlin Hora) 4:51.43, 39. Washington C (Kelsey Maize, Morgan Kimball, Maddie Bohr, Brynna DeLong) 5:02.06.
4x800 — 23. Washington (Sarah Greiner, Mariah Reighard, Aubrey Zimmer, Kaitlin Buchholz) 11:13.48, 38. Washington B (Kelsey Maize, Morgan Kimball, Jasmine Mares, Brynna DeLong) 12:34.53.
Distance medley — 21. Washington (Dema Giardino, Natalee Enfield, Rachael Hall, Sarah Greiner) 5:16.34.