Dobbins medals in discus in first, last state meet
DES MOINES — Thursday wasn’t just by far the hottest track meet of the season, it was the record for the hottest May 16th ever in Des Moines, topping out at 91 degrees.
The heat got to quite a few athletes on the first day of the Iowa Co-Ed Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium, but not Marshalltown senior Dru Dobbins. In fact, it might have helped him.
Dobbins came into the Class 4A discus competition with a couple goals: to throw over 150 feet and to put himself in contention for a medal. He accomplished both of those goals on his first throw, which sailed to a career-best 150-4.
That distance was good enough to win the first flight, then to get Dobbins into the final flight, then it held up as the seventh-best throw of the day, giving Dobbins his first and only state track medal.
“That just came out of nowhere,” Dobbins said of his throw. “It’s hot out today, I didn’t even have to warm up much, I just popped it right out there.”
While many track athletes don’t necessarily prefer the heat, Dobbins plays first base for the Bobcat baseball team during the summer, when 91 degrees is just a normal day at the park.
“I’d rather throw in the heat, for sure,” he said. “[Throwing coach Mike Eggleston] told me he thought I had another 150 during warmups or close to it, so after that I shut it down and was ready to throw. That’s why that first throw came out like that.”
This is only the second year Dobbins has thrown the discus in his time at MHS, but that wasn’t his choice. Knee surgeries his sophomore and junior year kept him out of the circle, and a groin strain nearly sidelined him for his senior year.
Now he is officially a state medalist, the first for Marshalltown since Brady Arment tied for sixth in the high jump in 2014.
“I am glad that I can represent Marshalltown,” Dobbins said. “Everything I’ve been through and everything, I am just really proud of myself and glad I’m here.”
Dobbins wasn’t the only one representing the Bobcats, however, as sophomore Dwight Joar got MHS started by competing in the high jump earlier in the afternoon.
Joar was solid through the first two opening heights, clearing 5-9 and 5-11 with ease on his first attempt, but at 6-1 he caught a snag.
In the hottest part of the day, Joar was taken out of the normal rotation in favor of athletes who had to run in other events getting their jumps in, and by the time he got back at it he had sat around for 20 minutes.
“Just waiting a long time, there were a whole lot of people jumping, it’s hot and that drains your energy,” he said.
Joar was close on all three of his attempts at 6-1 but failed to clear the bar, but his quick work in the first two heats was good enough to get him 13th overall in the 24-jumper field.
Even though he didn’t reach the heights he wanted, Joar said this was an experience that will make him better as his career goes along.
“Being here for the first year as a sophomore, that makes me happy,” he said. “Next year I just want to get even higher.”
The entire time Dobbins was throwing, Joar was by his side watching and picking up on what Dobbins did to prepare.
“I’ve been giving him some words and talking with him, I think he is on the right track,” Dobbins said of Joar. “I really think he can do something next year in track and keep going on.”
On the girls end, Gabby Himes also competed in the high jump for Marshalltown for her first state appearance, and the nerves didn’t get to her at first as she cleared the opening height of 4-8 on her first attempt.
The next height was trickier, but Himes still managed to make it over 4-10 on her third attempt, which means she got to attempt her ultimate goal of 5 feet. The cards weren’t in her favor, however, and Himes missed on all three of her attempts.
Himes and the shuttle hurdle relay were scheduled to close out the first day of competition, but a severe thunderstorm postponed the final events of the day and forced the 4A girls shuttle hurdle to be rescheduled for Saturday as a timed final.