Jirges transforms into a quarter-milerAndrea Jirges pushed herself and it paid off.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Andrea Jirges pushed herself and it paid off.
She sprinted around the track at the West River Community Center. She run farther and faster than she ever had before. She worked herself to her physical limits.
Now, going into the Class B girls track and field meet, the Dickinson Trinity junior is one of the frontrunners in the 400 meters.
“Last summer and between basketball and track season, I did a lot more long distance and at a decently fast pace so I could build up my stamina so I could finish up a race strong,” Jirges said.
With a time of 59.64 seconds, Jirges is seeded third in the quarter-mile race at this weekend’s state meet.
“Last year, she was so busy doing other things, we didn’t really put her in the 400 a lot,” Trinity coach Craig Kovash said. “She’s just a lot stronger in the 400 than even the 100 and 200. In the future, I think an 800 is going to be a good run for her.”
The 800 might not be out of the question either.
When it comes to track and field, Jirges has discovered that if she tries an event, it’s likely that she’s going to be good at it.
She had qualifying times or marks in eight different events despite the weather-shortened season.
“For anybody to qualify in eight events, that’s a pretty decent accomplishment,” Kovash said. “That’s what makes it tough, too, when you’re qualified in that many events.”
When it came to the state meet, finding the right four events to compete in was difficult.
This weekend, Jirges will be in the 400, the triple jump, the 400 and 1,600 relays.
That spreads out Jirges’ Saturday. She’ll open the day with the triple jump at 9 a.m. and then have a long break before running the 400 at 1:30 p.m. After a two-hour breather, she must be ready to bounce back in a big way. Jirges will anchor the 400 relay at 3:30 p.m. and the 1,600 relay at 4 p.m.
“Coach Kovash knows exactly what kind of things will benefit us at this time of the season, long and slow, so we don’t get hurt,” Jirges said. “I’m concentrating on not getting hurt before I triple jump. I’m preparing to get my best times and best jumps for the state meet.”
Jirges had qualified in the 100, 200, 800 relay and long jump. She had the eighth-best long jump in Class B coming into the weekend and finished third in the 200 at last year’s state meet.
However, the Titans’ times are rapidly improving in the two relay events Jirges will anchor and she has the fifth-best triple jump in Class B at 34 feet, 11½ inches.
Trinity junior Nikki Grinsteinner may run in the 1,600 relay and said having Jirges there at the end is a boost to the team.
“She’s really fun to run with because she’s the last leg,” Grinsteinner said with a smile. “You know she’s going to take off.