DES MOINES — Cedar Rapids Xavier senior Patrick Lewis was full of nerves entering the 100-meter dash final at the Class 4A state track meet Saturday.
By the time he ran the 200, those nerves had turned to steel.
Lewis sizzled to wins in both events and earned the state’s fastest times in the process. Lewis won the 100 in 10.62, .08 seconds better than Iowa City West senior Alonzo Markham. He later breezed past the competition to take the 200.
Lewis got out of the block a little slowly in the 100. He caught up with the field about 50 meters into the race and lunged past Markham to the win.
“Starts have probably been my Achilles’ heel this whole season in the 100,” Lewis said. “I’ve learned how to catch up to everybody, and Alonzo’s the same way. Since we’ve got the longest strides, it’s the hard to get out against all the other shorter people. If we’re ever going to catch up, it’s just one of those things you’ve got to do and then see if I can get up to Alonzo in the end and beat everybody.”
Markham also struggled out of the block but was running stride for stride with Lewis by the end.
“My start could have been a little better,” Markham said. “Everybody beat me out of the blocks except Patrick. We got out pretty slow. Our start could have been better.
“As soon we got up to speed, it felt good. I just opened up my stride and tried to coast in. It was a good race.”
Lewis admitted he was a bit jittery entering the 100. He was loose and smooth in the 200. Lewis had the lead around the first turn and never surrendered it, winning in 21.43. Burlington’s Jamal Simmons finished second in 21.72.
“I think I got all the anxiety out in that first race,” Lewis said. “So I just came in here relaxed and it went good. I just felt good the whole race.”
Simmons nearly caught Lewis at the end of the event’s preliminary round. That stuck with him as he prepared for the finals.
“He came up real hard at the end so I knew I was going to have change something up,” Lewis said. “So the main focus was on this stretch just kind of like picking it up … I ended up going all out the whole race and it ended working out for me.”
Lewis will run track at Iowa State next year. By winning the 100, he’s considered the state’s fastest man. By taking the 200, he solidified it.
“You’ll never hear me say it,” he said. “It’s one of those things where people come up to you and say that you’re the fastest. You’ve just got to stay humble out there and try to run as fast as you can every time.”