Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
DES MOINES — When Fairfield sophomore Maya Lane was in junior high, she kept a sharp eye on a growing Fairfield girls track team.
Lane watched as names like Anna Dunlap and Mallory Lyon rose in the ranks, and when a young Kelsey Pacha transferred in from Washington, the Trojans had a roster with serious potential to make some big splashes.
On Saturday at Drake Stadium, Lane was right beside the trio as they spent their last day in Des Moines as high school track athletes.
“When I was in middle school, I looked up to them like they were celebrities,” Lane said. “To run with them and be on the team with them, and for them to believe in me, it means the world.”
The quartet qualified second in the Class 3A shuttle hurdle relay on Thursday, crossing in 1 minute, 6.33 seconds. In Saturday’s finals, the Trojans took home the school’s second-straight third place finish, ending the race in 1:06.23.
“I couldn't have asked for anything better to go out with,” said Dunlap. “I'm happy and sad both at the same time right now.”
The finish was Fairfield’s best on the girls’ side. Pacha collected a pair of fifth-place finishes on Friday with a pair of personal records, a time of 1:05.50 in the 400-meter hurdles and a leap of 17 feet, 5.5 inches in the long jump.
On Saturday after the shuttle, Pacha picked up her best individual finish of the weekend, taking fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.31 seconds.
“I think the less stress I put on myself, the better I run,” Pacha said. “It was my last race, and I just went out and gave it all that I could.”
Overall, the Trojans tied for 13th place with 19 points. It was Fairfield’s second Top-15 finish in two years, a nice farewell for the Class of 2022.
“It means a lot for my last race to end like that,” Lyon said. “It's amazing. They're all so inspiring.”
Patterson gives it all for Fairfield boys
The Fairfield boys weren’t projected to slip into the Top-20, but that’s exactly what they did, thanks in large part to a big performance from senior River Patterson, who was running in his first state meet ever.
Patterson’s best finish came on Thursday in the boys’ 400-meter dash. He broke his personal record with a time of 49.65 seconds, finishing third from the second heat.
“I felt like I was using everything just to get across the line,” Patterson said. “It was a solid race.”
The 400 came after Patterson over-performed in the 200-meter dash, qualifying fifth in 22.74 seconds. He would beat that time in Saturday’s finals, running in 22.47 seconds for sixth.
“I didn't expect much from the 200, and I came out here and did well,” Patterson said. “I'm happy with that.”
Fairfield’s best relay on the boys’ side went to the sprint medley squad of Connor Lyons, Tallon Bates, Aiden Lyons and Patterson. The Trojans closed out their strongest relay of the year with a time of 1:34.86, good enough for a fourth-place finish.