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Sergeant Bluff-Luton's Jorma Schwedler had the chance to win four gold medals at the Class 3A state boys track and field meet. George-Little Rock's Joe Anderson had the chance to score close to 30 points for the Mustangs.

If both came close to their point totals, their teams would benefit and probably come home with some hardware.

Both did exactly what they expected to. Schwedler won the 100, 200 and 400 and was part of the winning sprint medley relay team. His 40 points helped SB-L score 86 points to claim the 3A team title.

Schwedler became the 20th athlete - the first in 3A since 1965 - to win the 100, 200 and 400.

"I pictured having a pretty big state meet but not that big," Schwedler said. "I wanted to win at least one or two but I wasn't expecting to win all four. I was kinda like 'Oh my god, I actually did something.' It was like every race I won, OK, one more. With the races, I was thinking about scoring points for the team because we were trying to win it."

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2019 Iowa State Track Friday
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Anderson dealt with a controversial finish in the 3,200. Even so, he scored eight points there and bounced back to add 10 more points when he won the 1,600-meter run. A second-place finish in the 800, behind teammate Payton Mauldin, gave him eight more points.

Of G-LR's 52 points, half came from Anderson. The Mustangs won the 1A state title and Anderson was later awarded a gold medal in the 3,200.

"Looking back, it was a weekend to remember. Everything worked out well," Anderson said. "I always set my expectations high and my expectations were to win the mile and two-mile and go one-two in the 800 with my teammate. Set your expectations high and if you fail, get yourself back up.

"I'm just fortunate and blessed to come back with all of the titles and memories. State track is such an awesome experience and to finally lead a team to a state title, that doesn't happen a lot at a small school."

Anderson and Schwedler are the Journal's co-male track and field athletes of the year.

It was Anderson's last state track and field meet. Next year Anderson will be running for Dordt. For Anderson, there was no better way to finish out state track and two individual wins, a second place finish and a big team title trophy to bring home to George-Little Rock.

"There is no better way I could've dreamt up a better situation," Anderson said. "From the craziness to the two-mile and one-two with my best friend to winning a state title with these guys, it's good closure. It's emotional to finish up your (high school) running career and it's something that's been a big part of my life and it's good to have that closure."

George-Little Rock coach Curt Fiedler, who is stepping down from the role, isn't surprised by what Anderson accomplished just because of the work Anderson puts into his craft.

"He was so coachable," Fiedler said. "He wants to get better every race and that's what drives him. He wants to be a part of seeing his teammates get better. He is such a down to earth kid. That first day, he always wanted more and to be faster and that's what drove him. He wanted to be the best he could be."

Anderson said he wouldn't be the runner he is without Fiedler's guidance, who has been coaching runners since 1982.

"He gives you free rein, gives you the training and he always believes in you," Anderson said. "He was able to keep our energy high and he is the reason we were able to pull it together as a team and get it done. He does such a great job of developing athletes. His training system is a huge part of it."

Anderson helped contribute to the only state track title in George-Little Rock's history. He knows how much the title means to the community and to him, so he feels he was just rewarding the community for the support they showed him and his teammates.

"Everyone supports the school so much. When we got back from state at 11:30 at night, our auditorium was packed. It was sweet to see the community behind us to support everything we do," Anderson said. "The banks and booster clubs support us so much. Because of them, we get to eat at Olive Garden and such instead of McDonald's and they make the experience great.

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"Just walking down the streets, I get asked about state track. They are so invested in the school. It's fun to bring the title back home."

While Sergeant Bluff-Luton may be bigger than George-Little Rock, Schwedler, a junior, gets the same recognition around town. And he gets asked the same question a good amount, too.

Is he going to win four titles again next season?

"It's stressful and it's a good thing because it reminds me that I am going to have to do this again. I have another year and I have to keep working still," Schwedler said. "It's definitely a high bar that I've set. It does bring a lot of stress but it's expected."

SB-L head coach Monte Larsen said Schwedler deals with the stress and the pressure well.

"He wants it again but we all know things happen in athletics that you don't plan for some times. I actually had never seen him nervous and I could tell he was nervous a couple of times at state," Larsen said. "He found a way to calm his nerves. I imagine it's stressful but it's nothing he can't handle.

"He's a workhorse and when he sets his mind to something, he's going to do it. He stayed pretty humble and we are proud of him."

Not only was Schwedler's performance historic in terms of state performances, he almost doubled the amount of combined individual and relay titles in SB-L boys track history. Larsen said he thought SB-L had five combined individual and relay titles for this season's state meet.

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Schwedler's performance didn't surprise Larsen, either.

"I knew he could do it. He basically told me he was going to win four state titles and he did," Larsen said. "We brought home seven state titles and he was part of four of them. We basically doubled the number of titles we had as a team."

Schwedler's performance has caught the eye of some NCAA Division I schools already. He said he's heard from South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Navy and Maryland.

Schwedler said college is always on his mind.

"It's kind of the only reason I run track, so I can go to college," Schwedler said. "My seventh and eighth-grade years combined, I lost one race. I've always just enjoyed running. If it wasn't for track, I would probably be going into the military. I can't really afford college so the scholarship would be what allows me to go to college."

If Schwedler takes the same leap that he took from his sophomore to junior season, he will have no shortage of offers. Larsen feels there's definitely room for improvement yet.

"I think his times are still going to drop a lot more, especially in the 400. His goal is to get the state meet record," Larsen said. "He's going to come in with the same mindset and hopefully bring home a couple of state records."

Schwedler's mindset has always remained the same since middle school, too.

"My secret for running is run fast and turn left," Schwedler said.

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