The Fairfield High School boys and girls track and field teams will be sending five athletes to the 2017 State Track and Field tournament on June 2 and 3 to be held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The five athletes attending the state meet are Trent Swisher, Matthew Mangus, Brandtson Duffie, Noah Richmond, and Blake Adams. The following is a preview for the relay team and the three individuals:
Adams qualified for the state tournament, following a stellar season for the Lady Lions track and field team, in the girls shot put. Adams qualified in Div. III with a distance of 37-05.50.
Adams has been motivated during the past year by the fact that she missed qualifying for the regional tournament by two inches. Adams said, “I really wanted to change that. I really wanted to put it into play and I wanted to make something of myself. I just kept working and working and here I am now.”
Adams plans to have success at the state tournament saying, “I’m planning a PR. I have really been working hard this week and really been pushing. I plan to PR with 40-00. If I do that I have a chance to make top eight and make the podium. That’s my goal.”
Adams’ quest to improve led her to several different events and to seek advice from former shot put athletes in the community. Adams said, “Since my freshman year I have had a different coach every year. Over the summer I decided that I really need to figure this out. I attended Whittenburg track camps and I went to different indoor meets this year before the season and I really nailed it down. Then I started working with Mark and Dave from WCH, they have won state shot put there. They really started showing me technique and stuff and it was just more repetition. I got in the weight room a lot and here we are.”
First year girls track and field coach Kesia McCoy was confident in Adams’ ability to do well at the state level saying, “I think she can do well. She has put in the work over the last year to be good and the results certainly are proof of that.”
Adams will compete in the finals of the girls shot put on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.
Duffie qualified individually in the boys 800-meter run and for the second year in a row as part of the boys 4×800-meter relay team. Duffie had an excellent year for the Lions on the track helping the boys team compete at a high level throughout the season.
Duffie has realistic goals heading into the state tournament and said, “I’m very confident heading into the 800. I have broken 2:00 the last two weeks, which is what I need to so to run well at state. I need to continue to do that. If I shave another second or half second off there is a great chance I can be podium and that’s what I’m shooting for is to be the top eight in the state.”
Duffie expressed his joy in being able to see his hard work payoff with a trip to the state tournament when he said, “The most rewarding thing is state, I’m there. So all of the work is coming together.”
Duffie will participate in the boys 800-meter run finals on Saturday morning at 10:55 a.m.
Mangus qualified individually in the boys 3200-meter run and for the second year in a row as part of the boys 4×800-meter relay team. Mangus is the son of boys coach Bill Mangus and has followed in the footsteps of his older brother Michael in the 3200-meter run.
Mangus indicated that he is happy to be competing at the state level in the 3200-meter run by saying, “I’m not really trying to be up there in the top few or anything. I just want to get up there and I’m happy to be there.”
Mangus’ expectations heading into the state meet are to “run a fast time” and “I just want to beat some people.”
Coach Mangus expressed the pleasure he has gotten from watching his son compete at such a high level saying, “I’m very pleased with Matthew’s progression. It was a goal that we set at the beginning of the season. He has now achieved that goal.”
Mangus will participate in the finals of the boys 3200-meter run on Saturday at 11:25 a.m.
The 4×800-meter relay team is heading to the state tournament for the second year in a row following a season that saw the relay team show steady improvement while maintaining its high level of competition.
The four members of the team are Richmond, Mangus, Swisher, and Duffie. These boys have built a friendship on and off the track after competing together in both track and field and cross country since the seventh grade. This relationship has helped the boys achieve their athletic goals by developing a chemistry that few athletes can match.
Richmond feels that the bond he and his teammates have established will help them and said, “I think that we have a close knit team. That will definitely help us out.”
Duffie enjoys spending time with his friends in a competitive atmosphere and said, “It’s really fun. This is the same team we had last year. We are sticking together. This year we are better and hoping for bigger things.”
Mangus is more confident this year than last and said, “We have some good experience and I think we are faster this year.” Mangus also commented on the chemistry that he and his teammates have with one another saying, “That helps a lot of the track. We have to deal with handoffs. Wanting to do well for each other helps us run faster.”
Swisher tried to elaborate on the difference between this year and last year when he said, “I think this year we are a lot better. We have a track to practice on and that has made us a lot better. Our times are getting faster and we have a better time to train together now.”
Richmond thinks that the team can have success at the state level saying, “I think we will place this year. We will definitely beat more people than we did last year.”
Coach Mangus credits the team’s success to the hard work they have put in saying, “Obviously when you have progression you are happy. You are pleased because that means that you hard work, your dedication, and your training is working. You are seeing results and its evident in the kid’s times getting better and improving each year.”
Coach Mangus also took the time to thank the Leesburg community for their support saying, “I’m very thankful and grateful to our boosters as well as the local community and parents that have also helped give us the financial resources to attend this state championship.”
The boys 4×800-meter relay final is scheduled for Friday morning at 9:45 a.m.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.