Dobbins, Joar eyeing medals for MHS boys

Dru Dobbins

The Marshalltown boys track and field team might only have two competitors in the Iowa High School Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium this weekend, but both boys are in prime position to challenge for medals.

Sophomore Dwight Joar represents the Bobcats in the high jump as the 10th overall seed, while senior Dru Dobbins is seeded 12th in the discus.

MHS head boys track coach Doug Bacon said he wasn’t surprised to see his state representatives come from the field events.

“The field events have been pretty solid for us throughout the year, even Gabe Wyant only missed by 2 1/2 inches,” he said. “I think Dwight’s jump of 6-2 was a little bit surprising, we thought 6 foot might slide in but when he popped 6-2 I knew it was over with and he was going to the state meet.

“Dru has just been so rock solid and consistent in the mid-140s and hopefully we can fine-tune things a little bit and he can pop it over 150 and climb up into the finals.”

Dwight Joar

Dobbins had to fight through more adversity to reach his first state meet than he probably would have liked. After competing in the discus as a freshman, Dobbins had to miss his sophomore and junior track seasons due to knee surgeries.

“This year I just thought, ‘why not, it’s senior year, lets see if I can do it,'” Dobbins said.

Dobbins immediately made an impact in the discus early in the season, but once again the injury bug bit and he suffered some discomfort in his lower body, which sidelined him during the heart of the schedule.

“The biggest thing I was worried about was baseball, because I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to state or not and I didn’t want to risk that,” Dobbins, who plays first base for the state-qualifying MHS baseball team, said. “But I just took about two weeks off and I knew if I did it the right way I would come back healthy.”

Now he is back and healthy again and his throw of 146-9 in the district meet was good enough for 12th in the state. He will be the final thrower in the first heat of the discus, and whether he has just three throws or makes the final and gets three more, Dobbins said he has one number on his mind.

“I am trying to get 150-plus this week,” he said. “I’ve hit it in practice a couple of times, but I want to do it in a meet and where else to do it but the state meet?”

Bacon said often past performances are almost moot points when it comes to predicting how someone will show at state, but when it comes to Dobbins he knows what he will get.

“The crazy thing about field events at the state meet is there are people who go down and perform and people who don’t. Sometimes the moment is too big for certain kids or they’re not having a good day or maybe the reason they got in is one great throw and they can’t get back to it, it’s always hard to say,” Bacon said. “We know [Dobbins] is going to step in the circle and perform well, he’s very consistent and I don’t think he’s hardly scratched all year long.”

Before Joar’s jump of 6-2 at the state-qualifying meet, his previous-best height was 5-10. He said the huge increase in height came from trusting his coaches and himself.

“Before I was thinking too much about the height, but when it came to districts I didn’t think about anything, I just jumped,” he said. “When I got 6 foot I thought, ‘no way, that’s a personal record,’ and then when I got 6-1 I went, ‘another PR, let’s go!’ When I jumped 6-2, I didn’t think it would stop. I don’t know how I jumped it, I just jumped it and didn’t think about it or anything.”

Joar is currently 10th at 6-2, but he is only two inches out of a possible top-five finish in his first state meet.

Hitting that extra two inches and putting himself in contention for a medal is Joar’s ultimate goal.

“I feel like I want to get 6-4. When I was jumping for 6-3, I was tired because I started at 5-6 and that’s a lot of jumping,” he said. “I almost got 6-3, my butt just touched it. I just needed more energy to jump 6-3.”

Bacon said both Dobbins and Joar are in great positions to possibly make a move and give themselves a chance to be fighting for a counting spot.

“I don’t know that there is a whole lot of pressure on them, only maybe from a personal aspect in terms of them wanting to do well,” he said. “Overall it’s just go down and do what we’ve been doing and see where we end up.”

Joar will jump at 2 p.m. today to start the second session of competition and Dobbins will throw at 4:30 p.m.