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IOWA CITY WEST GIRLS TRACK & FIELD AND CROSS COUNTRY

West High's Climb(Gazette 4-14-03)
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West's title quest series of small steps
By John Riehl
The Gazette
Monday, April 14, 2003, 7:44:38 PM
IOWA CITY -- Iowa City West has climbed to the top of what Coach Mike Parker calls the "Mount Everest" of Iowa high school girls' track twice in his first five years at the school. After stops at the middle camp and the high camp, the Women of Troy reached the summit, capturing the Class 3A state title in 2000 and 2001. They stopped short in 1999 and 2002, finishing second to crosstown rival City High. West has begun its ascent again this season, taking a series of small steps -- the most recent coming Saturday by winning its own Women of Troy Relays. West outpointed Mount Pleasant, 154-135, in a battle of two of the state's elite teams. "We've got our program to the level where every year we're going to contend for a state title," said Parker, who expects City High, Cedar Falls, West and Mount Pleasant to battle it out for the Class 3A state title. "We don't have to look at the roster. We showed that we're a strong team (Saturday)." The Women of Troy roster isn't dotted with one star runner after another like those of past teams, but these competitors have their share of gold medals. West has 20 returning letter-winners, including six state champions. Sophomore Janet Dobyns (3,200 relay), senior Lynn Dobyns (1,600 relay, 3,200 relay), sophomore Julia Frudden (3,200 relay), senior Kristin Jacobs (1,600 relay), junior Nicole Novak (1,600 relay) and senior Lindsey Windauer (1,600 relay) all are returning titlists. Jacobs and Novak didn't run Saturday while nursing minor injuries, but pleasant surprises Amanda Judisch and Claire Hall continued to give the team sparks. Judisch won the 200 and Hall ran the leadoff leg on the victorious 1,600 relay, which recorded the state's fastest time (4:04.62). "I think we're making good strides to get to where we want to be," Judisch said. "We're just trying our best to get everything done." West is extremely strong from 400 meters to 3,000, with the Dobyns sisters and senior Robdu Adam leading the way. Saturday, Lynn Dobyns, a University of Illinois recruit, ran a 2:17.98 in the 800 and Janet clocked 4:58.61 in the 1,500. "These girls are at the times that we had hoped they'd be at when we got to the Forwald Relays or the Drake Relays," Parker said of his entire team. "Things are going great." Parker was thrilled that his team won its sixth straight Women of Troy Relays title, but he's learned that where you're at in April doesn't mean anything in May. He understands that West may not win another meet -- or even an event at next weekend's Drake Relays -- in preparation for the Mississippi Valley Conference divisional meet on May 2 and the state meet on May 21-22. But that's fine with him. Unlike past West teams, this group doesn't have the goal of finishing the season undefeated, which requires being fresh for every meet. The Women of Troy are sticking to their program, which means they will run tired sometimes. "I know the way we decided early to make our training," Parker said. "We're not going to turn away from it. I think it's going to produce the best chance for us to contend at state." West is confident in its abilities. "We're going to do it. We're ready," Hall said.