116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — There’s a big reason why Turkey Valley’s Jalyssa Blazek finishes her races with a strong kick.
She’s the rare distance runner who also trains — and excels — in sprints.
“One advantage my coach likes to point out is most of those girls have never ran a 100 or 200,” Blazek said. “And when it comes down to that last lap, it’s down to a 100 or a 200, so I do think it gave me an advantage there.”
Blazek blazed a new golden path for the Trojans Saturday in the Class 1A girls’ state track and field meet at Drake Stadium, powering to the program’s first titles in the 800 and 1,500 meters. She also qualified in the 100-meter dash.
Laura Kriener won Turkey Valley’s lone previous championship in 1988 with the shot put.
“All I could think about was this is my time, this is my turn,” Blazek said after winning the 800 in a time of 2:15.83. “I wanted that so badly. I just shot for it and it took a lot of gut to get there.”
Blazek relaxed and refocused to win the 1,500 a few hours later. The senior led most of the race and finished in 4:46.63. Both winning times were personal bests.
“It sounds cheesy, but all my hopes and dreams have come true,” the future Iowa runner said. “I am so astonished by my hard work paying off this well. I know I’ve had some good years in the past, but this is definitely going to be a great one.”
A pair of Alburnett seniors helped the Pirates break their own school record in the shuttle hurdle relay. Seniors Lilly Winterowd and Hailey Carolan were holdovers from last year’s third-place relay and this time they moved up a spot to second, finishing in 1:08.52.
“It’s just really cool,” Winterowd said. “Coming from a smaller school, it just means a lot that we all got to come together.”
Olivia Bohlen of Belle Plaine also turned a third-place finish a year ago into a runner-up effort in the 100-meter hurdles. The senior finished in 15.05 seconds.
“It feels good,” said Bohlen, who will run in college for Iowa Central. “I just PR’d, too, so that’s really nice.”
Blazek’s double went beyond nice. It was unprecedented, but not entirely unforeseen.
“This is my first year really racing (the 1,500) competitively, so I didn’t want to set the bar too high on that one,” she said. “But I wanted that 800 and after that I just got hungrier and I was excited to go again.”
Nashua-Plainfield won its first state title with 59 points. Lisbon was the top area finisher, in ninth with 25. Alburnett (20 1/2) took 10th.