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GC/G-R boys bring in 10th, Stahl 30th Andrew Abadie T-R Assistant Sports Editor

November 7, 2019
Northern-Sun Print
FORT DODGE — The Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys cross country team fell short of its top-eight goal on Saturday at the Iowa High School State Championship after finishing in 10th place. “I thought we were definitely better prepared this year than we were last year mentally and physically, GC/G-R head coach Jackson Anderson said. “The steps that we took this morning with breakfast and this week at practice were fine-tuning some things, setting goals, putting some plans in place for what we need to do on Saturday starting on Monday. The race today, I thought was a tough and crowded field. There aren’t a lot of gaps in between runners so our guys got a little spread out. I thought overall our top-five guys looked really well.” Leading GC-GR was Kenny Day who finished in 45th place with a time of 17 minutes and 31 seconds. According to Day, the size of the meet played a role in both his finish and his team’s finish. “I always want to get a fast start, especially with this race because there are so many people,” Day said. “If you get caught you’ll end up just doing bad for the rest of the race too so you want to try and get out in front of that. I pretty much did that, but there was pretty much always so people around me. That’s just how big the meet is. “[The younger teammates learned] probably just to understand who you are competing with and that everyone is really good here and how many people you are running with. Usually, the meets are smaller and there’s maybe one person next to you but there are always at least four people with you [at state] which is different.” Sam Schildroth ran 17:45 to finish in 59th place and Paul Brockett ran 17:58 to finish in 75th overall. Rounding out the top-five was Ethan Sadler who ran 18:13 to finish in 90th place and Brennan Sager who ran 18:36 to finish 72nd. “Ethan Sadler has come really strong for us in the last few weeks so that’s been exciting to watch him thrive,” Anderson said. “Obviously, Sam, Kenny and Paul have been pretty consistent for us now that they are back and healthy that was great for us.” Jeryn Spear and Soren Cleveland ran 19:51 and 19:56 to finish in 130th and 131st, respectively. The 10th place team finish was a two-spot improvement for GC/G-R and according to Anderson, the team’s finish leaves room for more improvement as the majority of the group will return for next season. “[Tenth is] where they predicted us,” Anderson said. “It’s not where we wanted to be. We graduate one guy out of those seven, so I think coming down here two years in a row is a great thing for us. I think that says a lot about the direction the program is heading and 10 is better than 12 so hopefully, we can continue to just get better. I think putting three guys below 18 minutes is definitely a solid start. If we can get the rest of the guys to step up and continue to work together and do more running as a team it’ll be really good for us.” West Marshall’s Nicolas Thompson, a sophomore, made his state meet debut and placed in 77th for the Trojans. He finished in a time of 18 minutes, 0.6 seconds. Much like the boys’ team, GC/G-R’s lone girl qualifier Taylor Stahl had a somewhat disappointing day. “I improved my time from last year as a freshman,” Stahl said. “I was kind of disappointed in my placement but I still have two more years to go in my high school career. I can still get in top-15 for those years.” “My first mile I was going a little quick compared to what my normal mile splits are,” Stahl said. “I probably should have slowed it down. I was a little tight throughout the whole race but I just couldn’t relax and I think that’s what held me back a lot.” Stahl ran 20:26 to finish in 28th place overall. “She started out really strong and I was really proud of that race,” Anderson said. “We talked a lot about just getting her comfortable and not feeling ok and becoming ok with that feeling. I think she pushed herself hard to feel that way. Maybe her start was a little strong. It was not where she wanted to be but she’s young and has a bright future. “She has worked really hard and her place might not have shown it today but she is definitely a better runner right now than what she was last season. I think she is going to keep getting better. She does work hard and puts a lot of pressure on herself which is great. She wants to be and has the drive for it. I’m excited to see what she can do in the spring and her next two years.” Stahl jumped out in 13th place but the race quickly spread out and led to her falling behind in the second mile. “The first pack there was space and then there was me and a few other girls so we were pretty spaced out throughout the race. “[It was] around the second mile through those hills. My strength is hills but I think people started breaking away so then I slowly started to get slower and slower.” According to Anderson the goal moving forward is to find stronger workouts for Stahl. “I think we figured out her starts,” Anderson said. “We know that she can start strong. I still think that she has more in her tank than she knows so maybe emptying the tank a little more frequently and pushing her in practice. We talked about training more with the boys’ team and less with the girls to push her a little bit more. “I think it might be in Taylor’s best interest to stick her up there with the guys and kind of develop some of that speed work and push her a little bit harder on a regular basis.” For Stahl, the day became a learning experience to relax and more have fun. “I basically learned to just have fun,” Stahl said. We’re all here and we’re showing the state the kind of competitors we are. At my district, there were 10 of the top 15 that were sophomores and one freshman so my grade level is pretty tight and it’s going to be tight the whole rest of my high school career I would say. “[I plan to keep] working my butt off and practice harder and push my teammates to come down here and experience this with me.”

Article Photos

T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW ABADIE - GC/G-R’s Paul Brockett, right, leads West Marshall’s Nicolas Thompson down the homestretch during the Class 2A boys race on Saturday at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course.



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