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Stewartsville Senior Runs for Redemption

Dominick Fleeks lost out on a state championship bid in the 400m dash as a junior with a false start in the final heat.
(STEWARTSVILLE, Mo.) It didn't take long for Stewartsville's Dominick Fleeks to make a name for himself on the track.

"Every meet we go to, he has that target on his back," Cardinals track coach Corey Creason said.

Fleeks followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Lafayette Fleeks, who took home second in the 400 meter dash at state as a junior. Lafayette would've landed a second straight second place finish as a senior, too, if it weren't for his younger, freshman brother edging him by .06 seconds.

"I knew he was pretty good his senior year," Dominick said of Lafayette, "and if I could run with him, I knew I should be pretty good."

Fleeks has been more than pretty good. He's shattered three individual records -- the 100, 200 and 400 --at Stewartsville, and at state as a junior, set the Class 1 record in the 400m in prelims.

But in the 400m state finals, Fleeks made a mistake he hadn't committed since his freshman year.

"I was just frustrated at myself, because I knew what I had to do and I just goofed up."

Fleeks left the blocks early, and the false start cost him a shot at a state championship.

"It was heartbreaking," former Stewartsville track coach Cyndy Hovenga said. "It was heartbreaking for him, it was heartbreaking for his family. It was heartbreaking for the team, because he's a team player and his team has always been behind him. It was tough on all of them."

But back for his senior year and a shot at redemption, Fleeks has his sights set on the state meet once again.

"I think he used that for some drive, and he's using that to better himself," Creason said of the false start in his junior year.

The Stewartsville senior's final high school track season hasn't come without obstacles, though. He pulled his hamstring at a meet in Cameron and was out for two weeks.

"It kind of was a blessing in disguise, He got that opportunity to rest a little bit," Creason said, "and I think he pushed himself a little bit too much because it is his last year. He wants to go out on top."

He rebounded at the conference meet Monday, his first appearance since the injury, posting PVC record times in the 200, 400 and the 4 x 400 meter relay alongside teammates Garrett Shoemaker, Payden Thompson and Ty Friend.

Now with districts coming this weekend at St. Joseph Christian, Fleeks is ready to start his journey back to state.

"This is what you train for all year," Fleeks said, "and this is the time you want to show up big."

And Creason believes the future Northwest Bearcat has what it takes to break his own Class 1 record on the biggest stage.

"We haven't talked about that, but I think he does. I really do."
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