DES MOINES Better late than never.
Ottumwa High School athletics teams were belatedly informed that the CIML Metro conference final athletics meet would be brought forward a day in hopes of avoiding the rainy forecast scheduled for Thursday. The Bulldogs also arrived a little later than expected at Grubb Stadium after a tire fell on a team bus just outside Des Moines.
“The whole team had to get on a bus for the rest of the way,” said Ottumwa boys’ athletics head coach John Lawrence. “Fortunately, we had enough places.
“We succeeded. That’s the most important thing.”
The Bulldog girls and boys wouldn’t come away empty-handed from the latest Metro Championship Athletics meet, earning nine combined wins, including first place at one point in three consecutive races. While it was Des Moines Roosevelt who would become the last Metro boys and girls track team champion, the Bulldog girls crowned five new individual Metro champions on their way to the team’s second-place finish on Wednesday while that the Ottumwa boys kicked him. shifted into high gear late to win the final Metro conference race, rallying in the final two laps to edge Des Moines Roosevelt for the 4×400 relay title.
“The whole time I was running there were Roosevelt athletes yelling at the guy behind me to fight,” Ottumwa senior Austin Fountain said after holding off the Roughriders on the final lap of the final race. . “I used that motivation that they wanted for their guy and I used it to motivate me.
“I knew he was right behind me. I even saw his shadow when we got to the last 100 yards. I just threw him and held him. It was a good run.”
Fountain and fellow senior Lina Newland closed out their last Metro encounter for the Bulldog teams with multiple wins. Newland, a state medalist and Drake Relay qualifier in the women’s long jump, was the only athlete to reach 17 feet in the event on Wednesday, winning the final Metro long jump title by a 17-0 jump. ,5.
“There’s a lot of pressure to come back to the state and get even higher in the long jump, but I’m trying not to let that get to me,” Newland said. “I’m really ready for the long jump. My goal is to do better than seventh. I’d like to be in the top five. I think it’s cool to compete against some of the best athletes in the state and come back back and with them all season. I love this competition. It pushes me every time I see athletes who have pushed me in the past to improve.
“I love racing. I love the track and I love seeing people being passionate about it.”
Newland won the closest race of the night, narrowly edging Des Moines Roosevelt rookie Maijara Robinson by 0.01 seconds. The Ottumwa senior had a nose and a toe, just ahead of Robinson at the finish line to claim the Metro title in the women’s 200 meters with a time of 26.84.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had such a close race,” Newland said. “There were a few stints that were tight, but never such a small margin. I just gave everything I had and tried my best to stay ahead of her. had had. I moved my arms as fast as I could. I did it. I don’t know how I did it. It’s just one of those things that happens.”
Fountain added a victory in the 400 meters hurdles, winning the race in 57.91 seconds. The Ottumwa senior continues to hit the right time in his final season of high school athletics after returning from a torn ACL suffered in August at the start of his final season of high school football.
“Each day is one step closer to where I want to be,” Fountain said. “It was another big step to get there.”
Several Ottumwa athletes have won their first and last Metro Track and Field Championships with the Bulldogs and Des Moines Public Schools joining the new Iowa Alliance next season. Jake Mellin, younger brother of former Metro and State champion Carollin Mellin, passed Des Moines Roosevelt’s Henry Nagle senior on the final lap to win the men’s 800-meter title in 2:11.01.
Mellin, Luke Graeve and Mason Farrington were part of the winning 4×400 relay race for the boys of Ottumwa. Graeve won his first Metro title in that race while Farrington picked up Metro victories in the 200-meter (22.87) and 400-meter (51.55) dashes.
The Ottumwa girls saw five athletes win their first conference titles on Wednesday. Jordan Pauls gave the Bulldogs followed teammate Anna Wellings’ Metro championship last year on the discus by winning this year’s competition with a 93-3 shot while Camdyn Crouse, Mallory Morgan, Sarah Hunger and Ella Allar won the rallying title of the Metro girls’ shuttle. in the final two innings ahead of Roosevelt to produce a conference-winning time of 1:12.44.