MVAOCOU High School track and field co-coach Scott Breyfogle admires the growth senior Dylan Blake has shown this season.
His growth was in full display at the Sioux City Relays on Saturday, as the Rams distance runner won the 800-meter and the 1,600-meter runs. Blake was also the anchor to the Rams’ fifth-place finish in the 4x800 relays.
Blake is this week’s Siouxland Athlete of the Week.
His winning times Saturday were 2 minutes, 3 seconds in the 800, and took the mile in 4:33.01. Blake is ranked third in Class 2A in the 800.
Blake had the speed to beat the guys he ended up defeating -- Sheldon senior Eric Heibult and Gehlen Catholic junior Will Roder – but didn’t quite have the strategy on how to use his quickness.
The Rams senior was advised to make his kick – a term used to describe a runner’s finish – earlier. Blake heeded that advice with 500 meters to go on the final lap.
He passed Heibult and Roder in the final meters and took his second title of the afternoon.
“We knew he could win, he just had to stay with Roder,” Breyfogle said. “He’s learning how to race.”
Blake learned how to run a 400 on Monday night in the Denison-Schleswig track meet. It was his first time, and said it wasn’t fun, but knew it will help him in the long run, especially in the 800.
It’s part of the little things that he hopes will make him be a state qualifier.
One of the small things is a change in diet. After coming home from practice, Blake admitted he would sit on the couch and eat a bag of chips or some donuts. He wasn’t thinking about what he was putting into his body until Breyfogle and the rest of the Rams coaches brought it up.
Blake recently started the new diet. It consists of eating eggs in the morning, a sandwich in the afternoon and many more vegetables.
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“My coaches sat me down and said that if I want to take things to the next level that I have to start doing the little things, and I said, ‘OK,’” Blake said. “The last two years, I was not doing that type of stuff. I hate losing more than I like winning.”
The Rams senior is also taking more ice baths, heat therapy, roll outs and using bands for stretching.
Blake admits that he takes losses personally, but is working on being a calmer competitor when he doesn’t finish first.
Last week, Blake lost to South Central Calhoun seniors Spencer Moon and Chase McAlister in the 800. McAlister and Moon are the top-two 800 runners in 2A.
But, that losing is fueling Blake. He showed up to the Mapleton track at 6:30 a.m. that next morning, wanting to correct the mistakes he made the night before.
“He takes losses personally,” Breyfogle said. “He doesn’t like being complacent.”
His teammates in the 4x800 relay are helping him be a calmer runner, too.
Those teammates -- Cameron O'Connell, Kolby Nutt and Weston Beeson – help Blake stay grounded.
“They make it fun at all times so I’m not just running by myself,” Blake said. “They also keep practice competitive and help me do the little stuff.”
The Rams’ quartet recorded a season-best time Saturday in 8:32.82. That’s good entering Monday for the sixth-fastest relay in the state.
- Joe Anderson, George-Little Rock: He won the 3,200 (9:50.86) Saturday at the Sioux City Relays.
- Mikayla Turek, Unity Christian: She finished second in the 400 hurdles (1:07.84) and the long jump (17 feet, 2¼ inches) at the Sioux City Relays.