Junior Olympians fight on despite weather

After a wet and cold track and field season, it only seemed natural that the conditions persisted on Saturday during the final day of the USATF Dakotas Association Junior Olympic Championships at Swisher Field.

“It’s pretty expected,” said Ipswich pole vaulter Autumn Pitz of a day that featured strong wind, chilly temps and rain showers that got worse as the day wore on.

“It’s difficult, but yet it’s a mind game,” said Pitz, who recently won the State B championship in pole vault. “You kind of just have to come and do it. That’s the whole gist of track and field. You have to deal with the conditions and do your best in anything you do.”

Like many of this past weekend’s participants, Pitz plans on returning to Swisher Field in July for the Region 8 Meet featuring the top athletes from a six-state area. All will be hoping for much warmer and drier conditions than what they experienced on Saturday.

“Well, the Fourth of July hopefully is bringing some good weather,” Pitz said. “Hotter is easier for pole vault. It’s smoother, because you’re not hitting a brick wall when you’re going up.”


Major meet ahead

The next stop for many of Saturday’s competitors will be the USATF Region 8 Meet July 4-7 at Swisher Field. Last year’s region was in Wisconsin and was something to remember, according to Bryce Malsom.

The Edmunds Central standout hurdler competed in that event and brought home many memories.

“Last year, the stands were packed there,” Malsom recalled. “You can feel the crowd behind you and the times get faster as you go.”

Malsom is hoping that hosting the region this year will work out to his advantage in more ways than one.

For starters, Malsom said Swisher Field is almost like a home track to him.

“I ran here last year and I’ve also done camps here,” he said. “It feels like home.”

Not only that, but Malsom thinks the field might be a little smaller compared to a year ago.

“I don’t think as many of the Wisconsin people will come over here, just the fact that it’s a long distance,” he reasoned. “I think it will be more hometown people.”

Malsom qualified for the national meet a year ago, but was unable to go because of obligations on the farm. However, all of that will change should he qualify this summer.

“This year we said that we were determined if I make it, we’re going,” Malsom said.



Pitz Vaulter Magazine
Pitz Vaulter Magazine


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