DES MOINES — No matter how many times they may have dreamed about it, no matter how many times they may have ran the moment through in their minds, nothing prepares an athlete for that special moment when they achieve an accomplishment as special as a state championship.
For some athletes, such as Centerville’s Graydon Schmidt, Logan Brown and Payton Busch, the feeling is so special it’s worth repeating even when nobody expects you to.
The three returning members the Big Reds’ distance medley relay team surprised several fans Friday night at Drake Stadium in Des Moines by defending their Class 3A state title in the event despite starting in the opening heat, usually reserved as the “slow” heat for teams with the slowest qualifying times. The team, which won the same race last year by just .61 seconds, lapped the big blue oval with new teammate Garrett Moorman in a time of 3:31.38, then watched as Sioux City Bishop Heelan came the closest to challenging the time with a 3:33.89 in the third “fast” heat to give the Centerville foursome a 2.5-second victory and back-to-back championships.
The distance medley team had to replace one individual — Jamey Foster — since last year’s title, which came at a time of 3:30.33. For Busch, a run today in the 3A boys 800 final will give him a chance to live that championship dream for a third time in two years.
Some athletes, like Fairfield’s Daniel Schwartz, didn’t even dare to dream that big. The Trojan senior didn’t think he had any chance of walking out of Drake Stadium as Class 3A’s boys state champion high jumper.
Not until it actually happened.
When it did, it came in such an unexpected manner. Schwartz, whose school record jump of 6-6 had been surpassed late in the year as the top leap on Class 3A heading into state, figured he would need to do better than clear the bar at 6-4 with 17 other competitors also still alive for the title.