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The Mid-Prairie boys cross country team took a big step forward on Monday at Iowa Mennonite, with six of seven varsity runners posting bests this season and Quinn Schmidt finishing third overall.
“I feel like as a team we’re getting to that point where people are getting back from injuries and we’re in shape,” Mid-Prairie senior Quinn Schmidt said.
Schmidt spent the race at the front of the pack and passed two people in the last mile to finish third. His time of 17:56 was a season best and the first under 18 minutes this season for a Mid-Prairie runner.
Schmidt put it down to coaching and how he has built his confidence.
“Mark talked about how the woods section was 800 meters long, the part up top here was 400 meters long so some of those thoughts through my head during the race helped a lot,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt was a state qualifier in the 400-meter dash at the state track meet, so he said breaking it into those portions and thinking in those terms helped him keep pace and beat those in front of him.
The Golden Hawks finished with a team score of 86, with Fairfield at 79 and Williamsburg at 74 in front of them. Mid-Prairie assistant coach Aaron Fleming said that the boys showed a huge improvement at the meet. In their last race against Williamsburg they finished 64 spots behind the Raiders, but this week cut that to only 12 spots.
“Williamsburg is likely a team we’ll need to beat to make it to state, and there were just a few seconds separating many of our runners,” Fleming said.
Freshman Thaddeus Shetler finished second for the Golden Hawks in 18th place at a time of 18:51. It was a 34-second personal best for Shetler.
Spencer Yutzy ran a 19:08 for 23rd place, Samson Kimani was 0.3 seconds behind him for 24th place and Jamison Stutzman was just four seconds behind them in 26th place. Those three have continued to run in a pack and Schmidt said those four work to push each other.
He said the internal competition between them helps them keep a great pace and adds to wanting to run a better time.
Lucas Bontrager and Miles Burrows, both recently returning from injuries, ran season bests to round out the varsity lineup. Bontrager finished in 19:40 and Burrows 19:48.
Chandler Hershberger, who finished 0.5 seconds behind Burrows, took first place in the junior varsity standings.
Mid-Prairie will run next at the River Valley Conference meet at the Iowa City Kickers complex on Oct. 11. Five teams in the River Valley Conference are ranked in the most recent IATC rankings, with Tipton occupying the No. 1 spot in Class 2A.
3, Quinn Schmidt, 17:56
18, Thaddeus Shetler, 18:51
23, Spencer Yutzy, 19:08
24, Samson Kimani, 19:08
26, Jamison Stutzman, 19:12
38, Lucas Bontrager, 19:40
47, Miles Burrows, 19:48
48, Chandler Hershberger, 19:48
62, Jack Pennington, 20:12
73, Elmir Ganibegovic, 20:50
92, Luke Albright, 21:24
124, Levi Stultz, 23:03
125, Evan Hall, 23:06
130, Robert Nagy, 23:29
131, Austin Bontrager, 23:30
153, Sam Yoder, 25:19
160, Gabe Brase, 26:02
161, Ty Carey, 26:06
162, Dallas Miller, 26:08
167, Ethan Hall, 27:15