“A phenomenal weekend.”
That's how Glenwood track coach Mark Starner would describe the performance of long distance runner Johnny Fuller at the 101st Drake Relays in Des Moines last weekend.
Fuller used a sprinter’s kick in the final 300-meters of both the 3,200 and 1,600-meter runs at the high school portion of the meet to best the state’s top distance runners in all classes for a pair of gold medals.
After edging Brogan Austin of Boone for first in the 3,200 in 9:19.34 on Thursday, Fuller came back on Saturday to best the field with a 4:15.16 in the 1,600.
Fuller’s long distance sweep is just the eighth time in 41 years the same runner won both events at Drake. He also becomes the Rams’ first two-time gold medal-winner at Drake since Scott Davis took gold in both the shot and the discus at the 1988 games.
Starner, for one, wasn’t surprised Fuller joined such rare company.
“We knew he had a great opportunity to better his time at Sioux City,” said Starner, noting just a week earlier Fuller had set a personal-best time of 9:23 in the 3,200-meters. “He said he could run faster. And being on a fast track like Drake, we knew there was a chance. I think Johnny was hoping he’d break 9:20 in the 3,200 and break 4:20 in the mile.
“It was the pace and how he did it was incredible. He just kind of stuck with the lead guy as part of his game plan in both aces and then he out kicked him in the end. He was hoping he could just get a medal.”
Fuller now becomes the hunted and not the hunter as the season heads into the final stretch to the state meet the third week in May. But Starner’s confident the junior is more than capable of handling the pressure.
“He’s trying to break 9:10 in the 3,200 and a sub-4:13 in the mile. He has those goals and he has an opportunity to meet them. He’s a hard worker and he’ll work his tail off. He won’t just sit on these (victories),” Starner said. “He said to me he thought a lot of people were surprised by his times and that the crowd really electrified him in his kick. But I think if anyone can handle that pressure, it’s Johnny. He’s got the confidence. He’s got the mentality he can be beaten but they’re going to have to beat him going fast.”
Ian Eflin, who had beet battling the flu most of last week, ran a 15.70 in the 110-meter high hurdles to place 15th at Drake.
“He had a touch of the flu and came out to Drake not feeling the greatest. With the chilly weather and the dampness he wasn’t at his best but he ran pretty well,” said Starner. “He came in as the 32nd qualifier so he finished better than that.”
Eflin also joined Taylor Williams, Eliot Lincoln and Kyle Wheeler on the Rams’ sprint medley relay that placed 17th in 3:37.75.
“Taylor did a great job getting us out of the block and we ended up with a season best there with our time,” said Starner of his sprint medley relay team that placed third among 3A qualifiers.
On the girls’ side, Glenwood’s Shaniece Nott, the Rams’ first Drake qualifier since 2004, ran a 13.28 in the 100-meters to place 23rd in the all-class field. Nott had missed the two previous weeks leading up to Drake nursing a foot injury.
“She competed well for her first trip to the Drake Relays,” said Glenwood coach Brad Rasmussen. “She has missed a little over two weeks from running and we are looking forward to having her back for the remainder of the season.
Rams second at LC
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln edged the Glenwood boys track team by 1.5 points for the team at the Council Bluffs Lewis Central Co-Ed Invitational last Tuesday.
The Lynx finished with 132 team points to the Rams’ 130.5. The loss was the Glenwood’s first in an Iowa high school meet this season.
The Glenwood girls placed fifth with 80.5 points. Harlan ran away with the girls’ title racking up 195 points.
On the boys side, Glenwood got gold medal performances from Eliot Lincoln in the 400-meter dash, Ian Eflin in the 110-meter high hurdles, Kyle Wheeler in the 800-meters and from its 4x800-meter relay team.
The girls were led by it shuttle hurdle relay team of Mercedes Liparoto, Fisher, Devin Jackson and Kassie Finn that placed first in 1:11.6. Lexi Fisher added a second place showing in the 400-meter hurdles.
C.B. Lewis Central Co-Ed Invitational
Boys Team Results
1. Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln, 132. 2. Glenwood, 130.5. 3. Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson, 115.5. 4. Council Bluffs Lewis Central, 99. 5. Harlan, 87. 6. Council Bluffs St. Albert, 84. 7. Atlantic, 44.
Glenwood Boys Top
Long Jump: fifth place, Mitch Bowden, 18' 6”.
High Jump: second place, Ian Eflin, 5' 10”.
4x800m Relay: first place, Glenwood (Eliot Lincoln, Johnny Fuller, Jonah Strand, Kyle Wheeler), 8:18.42.
3200m Run: second place, Mark Abrahms, 10:22.04.
Shuttle Hurdle Relay: second place, Glenwood (Bowden, Derek Jones, Michael Lawler, Eflin), 1:01.5.
100m Dash: sixth place, Taylor Williams, 11.87.
400m Dash: first place, Eliot Lincoln, 51.85.
1600m Run: second place, Abrams, 4:42.92.
110m High Hurdles: first place, Eflin, 15.77.
200m Dash: fifth place, Williams, 23.92.
400m Hurdles: third place, Jones, 59.83.
Distance Medley Relay: fifth place, Glenwood (Cole Darrow, Jared Petersen, Trent Jameson, Jordan Krug), 3:59.66.
800m Run: first place, Wheeler, 2:00.69.
4x100m Relay: fourth place, Glenwood (Williams, Rhett Turner, Petersen, Eflin), 46.34.
Girls Team Results
1. Harlan, 195. 2. Altantic, 121. 3. Council Blufs Abraham Lincoln, 117. 4. Council Bluffs Lewis Central, 104.5. 5. Glenwood, 80.5. 6. Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson, 60. 7. Council Bluffs St. Albert, 42.
Glenwood Girls Top
Discus: fourth place, Rachelle Martin, 103' 8”.
High Jump: ffth place, Lexi Fisher, 4' 6”.
4x800m Relay: third place, Glenwood (Emily Blum, Brooke Peckham, Ashley Grave, Katie Larsen), 10:37.45.
Shuttle Hurdle Relay: first place, Glenwood (Mercedes Liparoto, Fisher, Devin Jackson, Kassie Finn), 1:11.6.
Distance Medley Relay: fourth place, Glenwood (McKenna Henze, Shelby Brewster, Hanna Ringsdorf, Maddie VanScoy), 4:48.60.
4x200m Relay: sixth place, Glenwood (Finn, Ringsdorf, Emily Robinson, Abby Brown), 2:01.58.
100m Hurdles: fourth place, Liparoto, 17.32.
400m Hurdles: second place, Fisher, 1:09.91.
Sprint Medley Relay: sixth place, Glenwood (Henze, Jackson, Shaniece Nott, Brewster), 2:07.68
1500m Run: third place, Megan McKern, 5:17.37.
4x400m Relay: third place, Glenwood (Fisher, Grave, Brewster, Larsen), 4:24.23.