BRUNSVILLE, Iowa – Sam May and Emily Haverdink both had similar races on Wednesday.
The MOC-Floyd Valley High School seniors each passed Glenwood runners on the 5,000-meter course at Prairie Rose Golf Course to win the state-qualifying Class 3A meet.
“It’s super, super exciting and I’m excited that my teammates get to come with me,” Haverdink said. “This year has been so much fun to run with my other teammates. We have a great bond, and I love that.”
The Class 3A (and 4A) meets will be Friday, Oct. 29, in Fort Dodge.
Haverdink’s pass came about at the halfway point.
She was trailing Rams freshman Madelyn Berglund for the first few hundred meters, but Haverdink knew she had to turn it around on a cold, drizzly day for a race.
Haverdink took the lead and never gave it back up. She won the meet with a time of 19 minutes, 30.26 seconds, beating Berglund by a second-and-a-half.
“I think at that point, I was just like, ‘Let’s just finish it through,’” Haverdink said. “I actually love running in this weather. This is the type of weather I love to run in. I was super excited. I knew I wanted to come out here and win.”
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Haverdink said that the weather didn’t affect her strategy at all. Since she prefers running in colder weather – which she hasn’t had many chances to this season – Haverdink wanted to go out fast right from the beginning.
Once she passed Berglund, her mentality was simple: Let’s go.
May’s pass, meanwhile, came toward the end of the race. He won the race in 16 minutes, 33 seconds.
“It feels great, and the guys and I, it’s been a year-long process,” May said. “We’ve had this in mind.”
May came around the second-to-last turn near the crowd in second place. He had been following Rams sophomores Bryant Keller and Liam Hays.
May didn’t need to make a fast start. He knew he was capable of making a pass late.
Plus, he figured Keller and Hays – who finished second and third in the meet – could serve as a wind shield. The wind was fairly calm during the girls’ race, but the wind and rain picked up shortly after the gun went off for the boys’ event.
May was patient for most of the race. He stayed behind his two Glenwood peers until the course headed down the straightaway that ran away from the start/finish line.
May made his pass, which then turned into his kick. After he took the lead, May made a mad dash to the finish line, wanting that district title for his penultimate cross country race.
“I thought that if we come up that hill, let’s give it all we got,” May said. “They had a little bit left in the tank, too, and (Keller) is a great runner. It was a great race.”
The weather didn’t bother May, but he said that it did change the way he prepared. He wore extra layers of tops and sweatpants, and he needed a few extra minutes to warm up.
“It was extra important to warm up right,” May said. “I think we had to have a little bit more intensity.”
Gamble, Rodriguez make the cut
When asked who deserves credit for making it to state, Sergeant Bluff-Luton junior Hayden Gamble smiled and immediately pointed to teammate Carlos Rodriguez.
Gamble made it a goal to make it to the state meet at the beginning of the season. He did so, right alongside Rodriguez.
Rodriguez will return to the state meet, running in 11th with a time of 17:25. Not far behind him was Gamble.
Gamble, who has run as a freshman or sophomore, qualified for his first state meet with a 14th-place finish of 17:32.
“Seeing (Rodriguez) go to state really helped,” Gamble said. “It made me think about other ways to train. He’s also been encouraging and showing me ways of how to keep a good mindset.”
The Top 15 of each race qualified, and he made the cut by 3 seconds.
Gamble approached Rodriguez and asked him how to train and how to be a better runner.
The two spent the whole season working together as a tandem, and Gamble progressively improved.
“I’m so proud that he made it,” Rodriguez said. “He works really hard in practice. I’m just super happy for him.”
According to coach Monte Larsen, Gamble has come on strong in the last couple weeks. Gamble realized that it was do-or-die time.
He ran well in the MRAC meet, then followed it up by getting 14th in the state-qualifying meet.
“It’s just amazing to accomplish it,” Gamble said.
Heelan sends 2, nearly 3
The Bishop Heelan teams won’t get to send teams along to state, but will send a pair of girls for next Friday’s 2:30 p.m. meet at Lakeside Golf Course.
The two girls who made it were sophomore Brooklyn Stanley and freshman Delaney Saulsbury. Stanley was ninth (20:26) while Saulsbury was 13th in 20:41.
“I think the boys and girls ran really well, considering the conditions,” Heelan coach Todd Roerig said. “We were prepared and I think we did as well as we could do. It’s disappointing, but we know that we could do better than that. They have something to prove going into next year.”
On the boys’ side, Carter Ritz missed the cut by 4 seconds.
It’s his first and only season with the Crusaders, as he’s a senior. Ritz ran the race that Roerig wanted him to run … it just didn’t work out.
“He has come on for someone who has never run cross country before,” Ritz said. “I feel bad for him. He ran a heck of a race. He ran a great race. I think it’s districts … it was just one of those things were you got to hang on, and someone has to finish 16th.”
Top 3 teams
The Rams won both team competitions – the girls scored 59 points while the boys earned a 56-pojnt win.
In the girls’ race, Spencer placed second with 67 points. Peyton Morey led the Tigers with a third-place time of 19:39.
The Dutch placed third with 71 points.
In the boys’ race, the Dutch were second with 60 points. Isaiah Hulshof placed ninth (17:23) to be the No. 2 Dutch runner.
Sioux Center placed third with 95 points. Graham VandeVegte (10th, 17:24) and Easton VanDenBerg (13th, 17:31) were the Warriors’ Top 2 runners.