Another MVC title for West
Jim Slosiarek Click for Caption
By John Riehl
Friday, May 07, 2004, 11:20:13 PM
CEDAR RAPIDS -- John Wall Field wasn't a high jumper's paradise last night for the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi
Division girls' track meet.
A stiff, cold wind made life tough on the top three jumpers in Class 4A -- Cedar Rapids Prairie's Jessica Statler, Iowa City
West's Alison Dirks and Kennedy's Alyssa Fischer.
While Statler's season-best mark of 5 feet, 7 inches wasn't in danger, the competitors didn't let the elements get the best
Statler, a sophomore, won the division title, clearing 5-4 on her second attempt. Dirks, a junior who tied for second at last
month's Drake Relays at 5-4, took runner-up honors again, jumping 5-3. West's Cae Lamb took third, followed by Fischer in
fourth. Lamb and Fischer also cleared 5-3 but had more misses than Dirks.
``It's more mentally hard,'' Dirks said of jumping into the wind. ``You can't think about it. You just have to do your best
``I try not to think about it, but (that's hard) when it's blowing in your face and you're trying to wait for the wind to
die before you jump. You have a (1-minute) time limit.''
Statler shared Dirks' feelings about the wind's impact.
``I think (the wind) made it harder. It's hard to speed up and jump,'' Statler said.
But West Coach Mike Parker didn't let the weather, or anything else, take away from his team's fifth conference title in his
seven years at the school.
West won six events and captured the team title with 159 points. Dubuque Hempstead took second with 102 points, followed by
Cedar Rapids Kennedy at 73 and Linn-Mar at 64.
``Elements or not, this means a conference title. That's very prestigious to us,'' Parker said. ``It doesn't matter who's
here or who's not, or what the weather is.
``I told (the team) it's kind of like cross country where your time doesn't mean anything, but your place means everything.
They did a great job, especially the distance kids. We were just able to gut out what it takes to be conference champions.''
West had 1-2 finishes in the 800-, 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs. Sarah Wickman won the 1,500 (4:52.35) and 3,000 (10:30.10),
and Claire Hall took the 800 (2:25.19). Julia Frudden was second in the 800 and 3,000 and Janet Dobyns was runner-up in the
Statler will use her division title as a springboard heading into district next Friday.
She missed on three attempts at 5-7, which would have tied her school record and set a division mark. But failing to clear
5-7 again wasn't a big deal to Statler.
``I don't really think about it that much. I just like to jump,'' she said.
Dirks can't wait for her next chance to jump against Statler.
``I was looking forward to it (last night), but I guess I'll see her again at state and we'll see how that goes,'' Dirks said.