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Marshalltown’s medalwinners left wanting more

2008 Drake Relays

April 27, 2008
DES MOINES — Whether you’re talking to Marshalltown’s Kellyn Fogarty or Talladega Nights’ Ricky Bobby, the maxim is the same.

But when Fogarty says it, you know he’s not just reeling off another movie line.

“I knew if I didn’t win, that’s failure. That’s the pressure I put on myself,” the Bobcat senior spouted after Saturday’s 400-meter hurdles event at the 99th annual Drake Relays in Des Moines.

Fogarty, the defending Drake and Class 4A state meet champion in the event, shook his head in disbelief after finishing third in the race he’s staked his claim to since winning ‘America’s Athletic Classic’ last April.

“I have a lot more pressure just to try to run a good time,” Fogarty said. “I can’t believe I got third, that I lost. I can’t even remember the race. I ran the same time that I ran my sophomore year at state. That’s disappointing too.”

Still, it was Fogarty’s third top-six finish in the event — and thus a medal-worthy performance — on the Drake stage.

“I don’t think there’s ever any doubt how hard he worked today,” said MHS boys’ head coach Doug Bacon. “What happened today doesn’t mean he won’t win the state title in May. It’s just an odd year and we’ll go back to work and see what we can get polished up by the time state rolls around.”

Fogarty’s reaction was similar to that of some of the other Bobcat student-athletes who competed on Saturday. Marshalltown had teams in both the girls’ and boys’ 4x800-meter relay races, and senior Luke Demmel ran in the 1,600.

Demmel led off for the boys’ 4x800 relay team, which earned a medal for sixth, and the Bobcat girls’ relay foursome was 14th. Demmel placed 11th in the 1,600.

While the performances may not all have matched up with the Bobcats’ expectations, the coaches got the type of effort they were after.

“We’ve gone home with no medals before too,” Bacon added.

Ethan Holmes, a junior from Clinton, finally caught up to Fogarty after three years of chasing the Marshalltown High School standout around the blue oval at Drake Stadium. Holmes was runner-up to Fogarty in last year’s Class 4A state meet by one-hundreth of a second, and Fogarty won last year’s Drake title with Holmes taking sixth.

On Saturday, however, it was Holmes’ turn. Fogarty got out to a good start and put some pressure on Holmes, who responded over the final 150 meters to pull in front to stay. The Clinton junior won in 53.56 seconds, Washington senior Mike Koehler was second in 54.16, and Fogarty was third with the same clocking.

“Fogarty’s awesome,” Holmes said. “I guess I did everything I had to do, I worked so hard in the offseason and it paid off. He’s a great runner.

“It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to win an event like this.”

Fogarty wobbled on his landing after the 10th and final hurdle, preventing him from holding onto the runner-up spot on the homestretch.

“I’m completely motivated for state,” Fogarty said. “I hate losing. I could be second by 10 seconds and still be upset. I could have run 52-something and lost and I’d be mad. So I’m definitely motivated.”

The final day of this year’s Drake Relays began for Marshalltown with the Bobcat girls’ 4x800 team, which was seeded 15th but finished 14th. Freshman Lydia Martin, sophomore Emily Hunt, and seniors Elli Mathis and Jill Lageschulte combined for a time of 10:07.59. It was the Drake debut for the first three and a different flavor for Lageschulte, who had qualified for the 1,500, the 3,000, or both, each of the last two years.

“If you would ask them, from an athlete’s standpoint, they’re pretty disappointed,” said MHS girls’ head coach Chad Pietig. “From a coach’s standpoint, I was pleased with their effort. They ran a little nervous, they ran a little tight, but I’d rather see that happen now than at state.

“Jill got some redemption for not qualifying in those other events, we rewarded a senior (Mathis) who’s worked so hard for the last four years, and two girls gained some very valuable experience. I felt bad for the kids because they want so much more, but I have no complaints.”

Pietig said that Martin’s split was one second shy of her best 800 time yet, and was excited to see Lageschulte gain back a few spots over the final 400 meters.

The Bobcat boys’ 4x800 foursome included half of last year’s sixth-place team. Seniors Ethan Blagg and Ian Macmillan joined with Demmel and freshman anchor Khor Kong for another sixth-place finish in a combined time of 8:10.43.

“The time was faster than we had qualified but we had some guys who didn’t do what they wanted to do, so that’s all they’ve been talking about all morning is state,” Demmel said.

Marshalltown placed sixth at state last year in the same race.

“Any time you can come to Drake and you medal, it’s a good thing,” Bacon said. “I can see how they’d be disappointed with some of their performances. A couple felt like they had too much energy left at the end. Maybe there was too much thinking going on out there.

“I’m happy Khor held off people he needed to hold off (to keep sixth place). It’s a pretty big experience to anchor a 4x800 at Drake as a freshman.”

Demmel said that running in Friday night’s 4x400 preliminaries helped him shake loose some of the nerves of running at Drake Stadium for the first time. He logged a 4:29.09 and finished 11th in the 1,600 on Saturday.

“It was so fun, but it was intense,” he said. “The guys are just so fast.”

Pleasant Valley’s Blake Irwin won the 1,600 for the second straight year at Drake, clocking 4:16.93. Irwin was one of four Pleasant Valley qualifiers in the event.

Demmel got stuck in an unfavorable starting position but worked his way out of the logjam to settle into sixth during the first 800 meters.

“Technically he ran well,” Bacon commended. “For the most part he did a good job of staying out of trouble: off the rails out in lane two where you can move.”

Demmel was the sixth-highest finisher from Class 4A schools, but fifth after eliminating Pleasant Valley’s third runner.

Article Photos

Marshalltown senior Kellyn Fogarty, third from right, starts over the 10th and final hurdle during Saturday’s 400-meter hurdles at the 99th annual Drake Relays in Des Moines. Fogarty, the defending event champion, finished third behind Clinton’s Ethan Holmes, second from right, and Washington’s Mike Koehler, far right. It was the third consecutive top-six finish for Fogarty in the same race at Drake.



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