The Eagles' relay teams hope to build on last season's record-setting success.
Apple Valley sprinters, from left, Quinn Hooks, Jordan Charles, Dom McDew-Stauffer and Steven Wilson set a school record last season in the 4x200 relay. Star Tribune photo: JERRY HOLT * firstname.lastname@example.org
Dom McDew-Stauffer’s senior year at Apple Valley hasn’t gone exactly as planned. The stud football player tore his ACL during a game in early November.
“We went to state for the first time in 19 years,” said the captain, who scored 15 touchdowns and averaged 8.2 yards per carry as a running back while also serving as a rock-solid linebacker on defense. “So it kind of stunk for me.”
He’s looking to change that luck this spring with the Eagles’ track and field team. It will take hard work through intense rehab with the clock winding down on his final year at the South Suburban Conference school.
“Oh yeah, that’s definitely what I’m pushing toward,” McDew-Stauffer said.
The good news is, he’s ahead of schedule. McDew-Stauffer just started straight-ahead sprinting last week as he finishes up a portion of his rehab program. He’ll work into full sprinting, cutting and jumping soon.
McDew-Stauffer hopes he’ll be ready by the middle of track and field season. He’s aiming to be back at full speed with a chance to rejoin his three teammates from last year’s 4x400 relay team.
“He’s taken some real good strides with his recovery,” track and field head coach Rod Dirth said. “But we don’t know yet. We take it day by day and let him feel out what he can do while listening to his doctors and therapists.”
As juniors, Quinn Hooks, Jordan Charles, McDew-Stauffer and Steven Wilson posted a school-record mark of 1:28.24. The third-place finish wasn’t expected as several other teams had recorded better times leading up to the final race.
“We were hoping to place,’’ Dirth said. “We put our goals out there to place in the top half and get some points for the team. The third-place finish was part of the surprise for us.”
McDew-Stauffer also placed sixth at state in the discus throw and finished 13th overall in the shot put. He plans to compete in both events again this spring.
Hooks and Wilson, along with current junior DaShawn Lewis, were also part of last year’s state meet third-place 4x400 relay team. Charles served on the sixth-place 4x100 relay team and also took second in the triple jump. Hooks is also a talented high- and long-jumper.
In fact, they’re all well-rounded athletes. Wilson, Hooker and McDew-Stauffer all played football. Charles played on the always-strong soccer team.
Rosemount, Prior Lake, Burnsville and other schools will be strong in conference, but the Eagles believe they can continue their streak if they can stay healthy. Dirth and the coaching staff will closely look at the lineups and try and put the team in place to score the most points in the conference, section and hopefully state meets.
He’s seeing the fire in their early workouts.
“I think they’re coming into the season more confident and a little more determined,” Dirth said. “They have a sense of what they did last year, but they want to work hard and get that time down.”