SIOUX CITY – Jorma Schwedler and Madison Jochum will make history this weekend regardless of their performance in Des Moines.
Schwedler, a Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School junior and Jochum, a junior at Bishop Heelan, will be the first to compete in the 400-meter dash Friday at the Drake Relays.
The 400-meter dash has not been offered in the past to Iowa high school athletes until this year. The girls race – which is a final involving runners from all Iowa classes – will be at 6:49 p.m. Friday at Drake Stadium while the inaugural boys race will follow after.
Jochum is ranked fifth in the state with a time of 58.23 seconds, and is honored to be among the first 16 girls to run in the event. The fastest time in the state belongs to Davenport Assumption’s Carly King, who has a 56.39.
“It’s a huge goal for my season,” Jochum said. “It’ll be a fun way to start the end of my senior season, and showcase what I’ve worked for.”
Jochum has led every race at the halfway point so far this season, but that may change come 6:49 p.m. Friday night.
But, she hasn’t won every race.
In last week’s meet at Lewis Central, Sioux City Relays MVP Janette Schraft of Glenwood edged Jochum, but that was something Jochum is glad that happened.
That loss taught Jochum that she needs to work on finishing, especially in her last 50 meters.
“It made me work harder, and it makes me excited going into Drake to see what I can do,” Jochum said. “I knew where I’m at exactly, and I knew I gave it my all. It gave me a good gauge where I need to improve.”
So, where does the improvement need to come from?
“I need to finish harder, and I never thought I would struggle with finishing,” Jochum said. “This year, I hit the 350 and I’m done. I don’t know why, honestly, and maybe part of it is a mental game.
Heelan coach Nate Treinen is excited for Jochum to have that challenge.
“That’s why you run the race,” Treinen said with a smile.
Jochum is also a part of the 4x4, teamed up with Crusaders teammates Hannah Hutchinson, Mia Conley and Amber Aesoph.
Aesoph is also running in the 800-meter dash as well as the 1,500. Aesoph has the eighth-best time in the state in the 800.
Schwedler, meanwhile, crosses off another school record of some sort.
He’s part of a group that likes to run fast, and likes to run in the open 400. He feels fortunate to be the one out of a handful who are capable of putting up a fast time.
The Warriors junior has dashed out to a time of 48.99, and that’s good enough for the fourth-fastest time in the entire state.
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His sub-49-second performance happened last week at the meet at Lewis Central was the first one for any Warriors runner.
“We’ve definitely had a lot of good 400 runners … I’m excited to be the first kid to represent SB-L, and hopefully I can set a pace for the upcoming kids,” Schwedler said. “I’m ready to go out there and put out a time for others to get.”
Schwedler’s other school records include the sprint medley relay, the 4x400 and the 200-meter dash.
This season has been a different one for Schwedler, as he has been running the 400 more frequently than his previous two seasons. He still carries the load of running in other races, but uses the 400 as a supplement.
Last season, Warriors coach Monte Larsen timed Schwedler while he was running the anchor in the sprint medley relay, which is a 400. His time split was in the low 48s, which turned some heads.
“He’s got two more years, and I didn’t think he’d be at where he is now,” Larsen said. “He has two really big meets left and his senior year.”
Schwedler is no stranger to the blue oval.
He’s the defending state champion in the Class 3A 200-meter dash in 21.72 seconds, as he edged current Dubuque Wahlert senior Alden Kuntz by .12 seconds.
That performance – and the whole sophomore season – took Warriors coach Monte Larsen by surprise, and Schwedler has blossomed from there.
“We’re excited to see how he does on the big stage this weekend,” Larsen said. “I think when he sets his mind on something, he just goes after it and works his butt off after it.”
Schwedler and senior Max Murphy aren’t the only two Warriors heading down to Des Moines starting Thursday. Sergeant Bluff-Luton is taking 17 boys and girls to the Drake Relays, including two girls relays.
The two girls relay teams that will be competing are the 4x4 and 4x1. The quartet of Warriors competing in that are Brooklyn Huberty, Emma Salker, Chloe Black and Maddie Hinkel, and they will be competing in both relays.
The Warriors’ 4x4 team is seeded 17th.
Larsen credits the freshmen -- Black and Hinkel – as the key to the team’s ability to qualify for Drake for the first time since 2010, according to the SB-L second-year coach.
TOP TWO BOYS 100 RUNNERS IN THE AREA: East’s Ardell Inlay has held the top time in the boys’ 100-meter dash for most of the season, but heading into Friday’s preliminaries and finals, that’s not the case.
The fastest time in the state belongs to Spirit Lake junior Joe Stein, who has a dash of 10.68 seconds (timed handheld), which he got in the Emmetsburg meet Tuesday.
Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley senior Cody Post is sixth in the state with a 10.91.
FIELD EVENTS: Sheldon’s Ashlyn Albrecht has the fourth-best long jump in the state sy 17 feet, 11 inches. … West’s Hope Wagner has the fourth-longest throw in Class 4A in the shot put at 39 feet, 5.5 inches. … Sioux Center’s Jacie Vander Waal has the fourth-highest jump in the high jump in Iowa (5-5).