Trinity's Jirges thinks team-first at state
A mutual goodbye isn't easy in the case of Andrea Jirges and the Dickinson Trinity track and field team. The senior owns three school records, is a seven-time state placer and has been a one of the team's elite competitors since her freshman year...
A mutual goodbye isn't easy in the case of Andrea Jirges and the Dickinson Trinity track and field team.
The senior owns three school records, is a seven-time state placer and has been a one of the team's elite competitors since her freshman year.
"She's really going to be missed," Trinity head coach Craig Kovash said.
Jirges hasn't ruled out competing at a collegiate level -- a couple schools have offered her scholarships, she said -- though with her plans of attending North Dakota State, this weekend's Class B girls state track and field meet will likely be Jirges' final competitive appearance in the sport.
The meet starts Friday morning and concludes Saturday afternoon at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
"It's very bittersweet for me," she said. "Somewhere I know it's good to move on and go experience new things. But now that it's state track week, it's hard. If I'm never going to run again, it's hard leaving everything behind."
Jirges is the Titans' school-record holder in the 100 meters (12.42 seconds), 200 (25.68) and 400 (59.64).
She won a state championship in the 800-meter relay as a sophomore in 2010 with teammates Kelsey Barth, Jordyn Bender and Ashley Sickler.
Since her freshman year, she has competed in at least three events at each state meet. This year, she'll do the maximum four -- all of which are relays.
"This year, she's really grown into a leader with the younger girls on this team," Kovash said. "She's been a very positive role model for all the young girls on the team.
"That's why we chose what we did with the relays. Some of them are on the outside looking in, but you don't know who is going to load those relays. We felt like this might be the best chance for us to get some points."
Jirges has qualified in the open 100, 200, 400, long jump and triple jump in previous seasons. She has placed at state in the 400 and 800 relays, though this year the 3,200 relay may be Trinity's best shot at a great finish.
Looking back, Jirges said she is torn over some of her decisions in her career. While some athletes choose to specialize in events, she has competed in more than half the possible events.
"It's nice to be able to say that I can do quite a few events," she said. "But on the other hand, it might have been nice to specialize in four of them and become awesome at those four. But every race I've done, I'm proud of how I've done and gotten better over the years. So I wouldn't take that back, no."
While her career is nearly over, Jirges said it's good to know that she has claimed a place in Trinity's record books and on the team's wall of records that hangs in Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
"I'm most proud of the records, I guess," Jirges said. "I've always looked up there since I was young. Seeing my name up there three times, it kind of takes my breath away. I never thought I'd be that person."