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FORT DODGE - In the past five seasons, only one boys team has finished in the top two in any class of the Iowa State Cross Country Championships without an individual medalist: the 2016 Class 2A State Champion Mid-Prairie Golden Hawks.
Four juniors led a total team effort for Mid-Prairie at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge. Peyton Miller had the highest individual finish, taking 17th with a time of 17:02.7. Zach Pettit finished 19th with a time of 17:06.6 and Floyd Evans was 21st, completing the 5K course in 17:10.3.
The trio started the race in the back half of the pack, but moved up in the second and third miles.
“We had it planned not to go out too hard with the front pack,” explained Miller, “the front pack was very, very fast this year. I don’t think we might have ran the times that we wanted to, but I think that’s where the whole senior leadership came in, the back end of our group really pushed us to help us come out with this win.”
Marshal Teets finished with a time of 17:37.0 to take 45th place and sophomore Quinn Schmidt rounded out the scoring with a finish of 17:54.2 to take 60th.
Seniors Brent Foster and Andrew Schwartz finished 70th and 120th with times of 18:01.0 and 19:06.1, respectively.
Mid-Prairie head coach Mark Hostetler was proud of the way his teams finished on Saturday, “the thing that really stands out in my mind,” he said, “regardless of where the kids finished, if they were struggling and not running the way that they normally do, they still were pushing as hard as they could. All the way from one through seven, boys and girls.
“As I watched them finish, I saw the stress on their faces and how hard they were pushing.
“That was really gratifying, because no matter how hard you run or how hard you work in life, there might be somebody better than you. But as long as you’re giving it everything you have, what else can you ask for?
“As a coach, that makes me really happy.”
Mid-Prairie finished with 98 points, ahead of second-ranked Unity Chrisitan with 115 and Western Christian with 130. Top-ranked Garner-Hayfield-Ventura had the second and seventh finishers, but finished fifth as a team with 163 points.
“The fact that we’re all best friends, when we heard (that we had won the championship), we were crying, we love it,” Peyton Miller said. “Every day we came in and said, ‘we’re going to be state champions,’ and the fact that it actually happened… its just surreal, it feels like a dream.”
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