Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD — The common belief is that the technical events in track and field suffered most with the lost season in 2020 due to the coronavirus closing of schools. Anna Dunlap has jumped past that thought, excelling in the hurdle events Tuesday at the Fairfield Relays girls track meet, helping the Trojans run away with the team title over Fort Madison, Oskaloosa, Keokuk, and Burlington.
Dunlap won the 100-meter hurdles edging Fairfield teammate Kelsey Pacha with a quick start. Pacha was making up ground on Dunlap but ran out of hurdles. Dunlap ran the first leg of the winning shuttle hurdle relay with Brynley Allison, Maya Lane and Hannah Bergren in 1 minute, 13.9 seconds.
Dunlap qualified for state as a freshman in the 400 hurdles in only her third race in the event and ran 1 minute, 10 seconds at state in her fourth-ever race. Now a junior, Dunlap ran the 100 hurdles for the second time and finished in 15.92 seconds, the eighth best time in the state this season.
Pacha already had the 16th best time in the state in the 100 hurdles and improved on that with a 16.45 time.
“I have a good start because I run sprints, so I’ve been working on starts for a long time,” Dunlap said. “When it comes to the hurdles, I can only jump off my left foot, so it’s easy for me, I guess.”
In one of the longest races of the night, Carley Seeley lapped all the other runners except for second and third who were 150 meters back. Seeley finished in first in 12 minutes, 18.27 seconds.
“My teammates, Claire Epperson, Malina Bloomquist, Makenzie Kraemer, and I got together in the summertime and ran a lot and it’s so important to work in the offseason,” Seeley said. “It’s important to pace yourself and work on your time so that your splits are what you need.”
Other winners for Fairfield were Maddie Jones in the 800 in 2:43.16; Coty Engle, Mays Lane, Hannah Bergren and Danielle Breen in the 4x200 relay in 1:57.18; Malena Bloomquist, Jones, Kraemer and Addison Ferrel in the 4x800 in 11:11.12; Kiya Robertson, Engle, Pacha and Mallory Lyon in 1:56.35 in the sprint medley.
Putting other runners a lap down is not a goal for Seeley.
“I’m just trying to keep up my pace and hopefully inspire them to finish strong,” she said. “My coaches and my teammates have helped me learn that I just have to run my race. I just do the best I can and whatever happens, happens.”
If that’s true, Dunlap and Pacha may go first and second in every meet, each pushing to better their times. They also have the guidance of Trojan assistant coach Matt Schenck.
“She’s a really good athlete, and we are going to push each other really well,” Pacha said.
“My dad and I would pretend it’s a meet and do time trials last spring,” Dunlap said.
Her father, Brian Dunlap, is the Fairfield high school boys track coach and that is definitely an advantage for her, isn’t it?
“Maybe it’s a disadvantage,“ she said. “He is a little hard on me, but it’s fine. We are close because of it.”
Pacha said if Dunlap keeps running the 100 hurdles, it will push them past any of the competition.
“That’s what we do in practice. Ever since I was younger, I’ve been doing the hurdles and I have fallen multiple times but I get back up and get more determined.”