STATE TRACK: Holtz finds happiness with shot put placing

DES MOINES – Samantha Holtz was pretty devastated about not performing well in the Class 3A girls’ discus competition Thursday.

Come Friday, all is well for the Trojan junior as Holtz bounced back with a brilliant performance in the shot put. Holtz surprised even herself by making the finals and eventually came home with a seventh-place finish following a toss of 37 feet, 4 inches.

“It helps to redeem myself. I didn’t think I was going to get this. It feels good,” Holtz said.

After two moderate throws to start the day, Holtz advanced to the finals after her best throw came in the third rotation. She didn’t better herself in the finals but still came away with her first career state medal.

“At this point, all that matters is that she is happy,” STC coach George Corum said. “Getting hardware down here is huge. She is smiling now after the disappointment she went through yesterday.”

Also competing on the blue oval Friday was the South Tama County distance medley team of seniors Shelby Bradley, Jade Rohach and Kelsey Kupka as well as freshman Belle Tyynismaa.

With no expectations, the Trojans walked away with a 21st place finish in a time of 4 minutes, 28.77 seconds.

“They ran well. That is close to a PR for us,” Corum said. “There are three seniors on that team so going out with a flare was kind of nice. We didn’t know what to expect. We came in like 22nd. Just to get down here out of our district was good. We’re happy with what they did.”

Holtz gained valuable experience when she threw in the discus at the Drake Relays last month. She did not have her best day in the event on Thursday but rallied in the shot put to earn a medal.

“I actually thought that she could have done well in the discus,” Corum said. “She throws what she threw at districts and she is a solid medalist. But like I told her earlier, you just never know what is going to happen down here.”

Holtz may have moved up even further in the standings had it not been for a scratch on her final throw. The distance on her last throw easily covered 38 feet but she had trouble staying inside the circle.

“They all told me I had nothing to lose, so I just put it all out there,” Holtz said. “I couldn’t stay in, I tried, but I just couldn’t.

“This (seventh-place finish) will motivate me to keep lifting, pushing and practicing hard so I can come back and do even better next year. You have to be physically and mentally ready. You have to work on your mental game here. That is what I have learned the most.”

It is Corum’s first year after serving several years as the boys coach prior to a brief retirement stint. He led the Trojans to the NICL West title this year and has South Tama County moving in the right direction.

“The kids are taking pride in saying that South Tama is in a new era,” Corum said. “We have a lot of seniors this year and they are starting us off on the right foot. It is pretty special for them to do what they did this year. This is the start to getting the program back to where we want it. We have gained a lot of ground this year.”