DES MOINES -- The Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School boys track team made a statement at the Iowa high school state track meet Thursday that it is here to take care of business.

Warriors junior Jorma Schwedler clinched the Class 3A 400-meter dash title after the 4x800 team did the same about an hour before.

Schwedler admitted his legs were energetic and fresh, even after running in three races in 90-degree heat.

Schwedler won the 400 in 48.74 seconds, defeating Benton Community junior Blake Osborn by .43 seconds.

The schedule set up very well for Schwedler. At the beginning of the day, he ran the 100 and he had the fastest preliminary time in 10.87 seconds.

A few minutes later, Schwedler recorded the fastest 200 preliminary time in 20.91 seconds.

During his 400 race, Schwedler admitted he was starting to get a little tired in the final 200 meters of the 400.

He blocked out all concerns. He was in pain, he was hot, but all he wanted to do was to pump his legs as fast as possible.

He had a strong 200-meter finish and won the race without much contest.

“It definitely felt good to have more leg strength than I usually do,” Schwedler said. “I was able to hit that max speed and accelerate faster. I think that’s what helped out a lot.”

2019 Iowa State Track Thursday
2019 Iowa State Track Thursday
2019 Iowa State Track Thursday
2019 Iowa State Track Thursday
2019 Iowa State Track Thursday

Schwedler clinched his second state championship as a Warriors runner. Last year, he won the 400, and he’ll have a chance to repeat later this weekend.

“It’s always good to keep bringing titles to Sergeant Bluff,” Schwedler said.

Before his final race on Thursday, his teammates were running in the 4x800. The Warriors held a top-3 spot, but that deficit didn’t last long.

Senior Conner Groves -- the No. 3 runner in the event -- started making the move to the front of the line.

Schwedler starting jumping up and down in excitement, yelling and cheering on his teammates as the Warriors took the lead.

Warriors anchor Easton Ritz held that lead and SB-L won in 7:58.68.

“Easton told me before the race that if I gave (the baton) to him in first, he would maintain the lead,” Groves said. “I attached onto the guy in the backstretch and I maintained that lead throughout. I did my job of getting it to Easton in first.”

Ritz kept that led, built on it, and as he crossed the finish line, he threw his arms in the air.

The moment Ritz stepped off the track, Groves, Nick Muller and Gabe Hannemann all ran over to Ritz for a group hug. Ritz could barely stand for the hug but threw his arms around his teammates to celebrate.

There was added reason to celebrate. The win was SB-L’s first ever in the 4x800 at state.

Ritz even blurted out loud that he didn’t expect a championship to happen.

“I knew we would be up there, but I didn’t know that we would be right up there,” Ritz said.

This has been a work-in-progress for Groves, Ritz and Hannemann. The trio of seniors started competing in the 4x800 their sophomore year.

Last year, the exact same four won their heat but finished eighth overall in Class 4A.

The group kept telling itself before the race that a win could happen, and it did.

“Just having that feeling that everyone believes in us and that we can accomplish it really helped us out,” Hannemann said. “We could all do this. We just had to work at it.”

The two wins from the 4x800 and Schwedler gave the Warriors 20 points, which could be crucial come Friday and Saturday.

“We’re doing a little better than we expected, especially today,” Schwedler said. “I think that’s going to help motivate us for the rest of the meet.”

As the morning session ended, the Warriors did not have the Class 3A lead with those 20 points. Mount Pleasant leads by one heading into Friday’s action.

Inlay advances to 100, 200 finals

East senior Ardell Inlay caught a cold over the last week, but not even a stuffy nose and a cough could stop the Drake Relays 100-meter champion.

Inlay will run in the Class 4A 100 and 200 finals after running the second-fastest time in the 100 and the 200.

His 100-meter time was 10.749 seconds, which was .004 seconds behind Harrison Waylee of Urbandale.

Inlay’s 200 time was 21.71, a tenth of a second behind Ames senior Bernard Bell Jr. and a season-best for the Black Raiders senior.

“I felt like everything went well,” Inlay said. “To me, it was a great race. The 200 went okay. I just had to focus on the start. Every meet, I haven’t had a hard start. I don’t get the competition as we do at this meet.”

Inlay said he felt tight during the 200, but says everything is fine.

Inlay will compete with the 4x100 team on Friday. His two individual finals are on Saturday.

The Black Raiders were scheduled to have practice after Thursday’s meet and will do so again sometime Friday.

Inlay says practices are crucial to fine-tune any small adjustments that need to be made.

“We don’t have the whole team, so practices go by a lot faster,” Inlay said. “You work with coaches one-on-one. It’s really key to have practices here.”

Practices weren’t fun for Inlay with the cold. He was coughing in-between reps and was throwing up mid-practice. Now, it’s just been stuffy nose and a cough.

“I try to think positively,” Inlay said. “Everyone gets a cold, and it’s something I have to battle through.”

Verzani takes shot put title

Lawton-Bronson’s Zach Verzani set a new school record while also taking the Class 1A shot put championship.

Verzani scratched on his first and third throws but marked his last three throws.

His final throw -- which was 54 feet, 3.25 inches -- was the one that clinched the state title.

His second-longest throw came on his fourth attempt, as it was 53-2.25.

MVAOCOU finishes strong in 4x800

For the first time all season, Dylan Blake started MVAOCOU’s 4x800.

Blake equated to his first leg of the 4x800 as if he were running in the 800-meter dash.

That meant someone was tasked as the new anchor and that assignment was tasked to junior Weston Beeson.

The Rams finished sixth overall, but with about 20 meters to go, Beeson passed Northeast’s Andrew Hilgendorf to claim second in the first heat of the 4x800.

Beeson’s pass earned MVAOCOU an extra team point.

“He ran a great last leg,” Blake said. “He hasn’t run that all year. My coaches came to me saying that I was going to run first. I didn’t like it at first, but I listened to them. I couldn’t be happier with my teammates.”

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