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Relays remind us of how bad the weather is, and how good the athletes are

A T-R Sports Column

April 28, 2008
You know that old saying: April showers bring May flowers.

This month’s weather will bring flowers for months and months — if the weather ever improves.

After spending the weekend at the Drake Relays, I see these April showers bring May dominance.

The weather conditions this month have wreaked havoc on all of spring’s prep sports.

Track and field has been no different and in some cases even worse. Schools already at a disadvantage have been put even more so — those without an all-weather track can almost forget about practicing on a track.

North Tama, with a gravel track at the baseball/softball complex on the edge of town, is one that has seen its time on the track greatly reduced. Only twice this year have the Redhawk girls have been on their home track.

Nonetheless, North Tama collected five medal-winning performances at the Drake Relays. Still there was a level of disappointment — and I use disappointment lightly as finishing in the top six to medal in the all-class Drake Relays is nothing to be greatly disappointed with.

The Redhawks finished second four times and had to be thinking what if? What if they had more practice times? What if they hadn’t seen some of their scheduled meets canceled?

“We’ve been unfortunate with the weather. I know we keep giving this as an excuse, but we’ve only been on our track twice,” said North Tama junior Sara Stoakes. “Running on the potholes of Traer doesn’t give us the same experience of running on a track. After going through Drake, I really, really wish we would have gone to a track because everything was so different.”

Unable to get on its track, North Tama has taken to running on gravel roads and football fields. It’s not the same as being on a track.

“We do what we can,” said North Tama senior Brooke Dinsdale.

Options where to run reduced even more as the rains again hit Traer hard over the weekend. The whole north side of town is flooded to the point where Highway 63 was closed and the golf course flooded over.

Look for North Tama to use its runner-up finishes as motivation for their return to Drake Stadium next month for the state meet where the Redhawks are back-to-back Class 1A team champions.

There are other area schools that have used lemons to make lemonade.

For example, GMG does not have all the bells and whistles for its track programs as other schools may have but it has been able to produce some of the state’s top sprinters the last few years. The Wolverines are even without a track of their own in Garwin.

Speaking of April showers, today’s forecast includes a chance of rain or snow in the morning.

Weather permitting, the North Iowa Cedar League West Division meet will be held in Conrad tonight.

The NICL West is again strong after coming off a 2007 season in which seven records were broken at the conference meet. The NICL West members also made noise at the state meet with BCLUW, Grundy Center and East Marshall each having a champion.


The most impressive school at the Drake Relays was easily Baylor. The Bears are a powerhouse in both men’s and women’s track.

The Baylor women set a Drake Relays record in the university-college 4x1,600-meter relay with a 19:05.80 clocking. The Bears’ time is the No. 1 time in the United States this year. Saturday’s runner-up Minnesota (19:06.11) has the No. 2 time.

The Bears dominated in the relay events as they also won the distance medley, 4x100 and 4x200 in the women’s division and the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 on the men’s side.


Contact Mark Pawlak at 641-753-2358 or


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