STATE TRACK: West Marshall shrugs off seed for third place

DES MOINES – West Marshall junior Duncan Ferch said being a part of a state championship track and field team with his brother Dalton last season will always be one of the biggest athletic moments of his high school career.

What he and his teammates did in the 4×100-meter relay Saturday at the Iowa Co-ed State Track and Field Championships ranked right up there.

Ferch anchored the relay that also included juniors Devin Chesler and Elijah Streeter and senior Justin Weitzell and the foursome sprinted to a third-place finish in Class 2A on the Jim Duncan Track at Drake Stadium.

“We weren’t expected to be as good as we were last year, but we like to come down here and give it our all,” Duncan Ferch said. “And placing third after losing three guys off the team from last year is pretty good.”

It was great compared to where the team started the weekend. The Trojans entered the state meet with the 17th best qualifying time. The unit qualified for Saturday’s final with a sixth-place finish in Friday’s preliminaries and ran even faster in the finale.

West Marshall’s time was stopped at 44.40 seconds, which was .25 seconds slower than second-place West Burlington-Notre Dame. OA-BCIG won the event with a 43.82. The difference between second and sixth was just .55 seconds.

“The times were so close from second to sixth (in the preliminaries), so we knew we could get higher than we qualified at,” Duncan Ferch said.

Streeter, who finished ninth in the 400 on Thursday, was surprised the 4×1 relay even fared that well at state. The foursome has not been running together for very long and didn’t have the highest of expectations.

That’s just another reason to feel good about the performance.

“We honestly didn’t feel like we would place that high in this event,” Streeter said. “We thought we could get in and see what happened, so we are pretty happy that we actually got a place.”

Weather was perfect for track and field all weekend long, but Saturday’s final couple of hours featured a strong head wind down the backstretch.

Streeter said that gave the Trojans an advantage in the final standings.

“I saw Duncan coming down the final 100 and he was in a big head wind,” Streeter said. “But he is really big and really strong. I think that helped us out because he can run right through the wind.”

While running with your flesh and blood can never be topped, Ferch and Streeter both agreed that sharing this experience with classmates and close friends is priceless.

“Last year I got to do it with my brother, but this experience is right up there,” Duncan Ferch said. “We have been running together since seventh grade so it was fun. We haven’t had a lot of track meets to get in a groove and peak, but we got third and you can’t complain there.”

West Marshall won the Class 2A title in 2012, scoring 48 points behind solid finishes in three relays. Streeter and Duncan Ferch helped give the Trojans a third-place tally in the 4×4, while Duncan and Dalton Ferch each were a part of the winning 4×2 relay and third-place 4×1 team.

Monticello ran away with the team title in Class 2A in 2013, scoring 90 points and nearly doubling up runner-up OA-BCIG (49). Dyersville-Beckman was third with 34 points, while Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central (31) and Cascade (26) rounded out the top five.

Western Christian won the Class 2A girls title, scoring 58 points. Cascade was second with 49.75, while Des Moines Christian (48), Treynor (47) and Hudson (40) also were in the top five.

West Marshall scored six points and ended up in 29th.