Jayette junior makes third appearance at state meet

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Perry cross country head coach Ryan Marzen smiles with Jayette junior Jaylene Karolus at Kennedy Park in Fort Dodge Friday. Karolus was making her school-best third consecutive appearance at the Class 3A State Meet. Photo submitted.

FORT DODGE — Perry junior Jaylene Karolus continued to place her name in the all-time annuals of Jayette sports history by appearing Friday in her third consecutive Class 3A State Cross County Meet.

As a swimmer, she has established two new school records this season, breaking marks that had lasted two decades. On the course, no other Perry runner has made as many consecutive appearances at Kennedy Park in Fort Dodge, let alone three in four years. And while her latest appearance may not sit well with the talented harrier, her coach knows better days are ahead.

“There is no denying we didn’t get the result we wanted, or expected, today, but that happens,” head coach Ryan Marzen said. “We wanted to run the first two (of three) miles in 12 minutes, 30 seconds or so, but when she got to that point she was at 13 (minutes) and I know we were too far off pace.”

Karolus was 70th as a freshman in 21:05.9 before slashing her time to 19:38.11 and 22nd place last season. On Friday she crossed 64th, in 20:48.3, a time that didn’t sit well with the junior.

“I have better races in me than that,” Karolus said. “I wanted to run close or better than last year, but it didn’t work out that way. Fortunately I have another year and hopefully I can make it back.”

Marzen is banking on it.

“Jaylene has the most tremendous work ethic,” he said, “and I have no doubt it will bring her back here for a fourth year.”

“If she ran 19:38 again this year she would have earned a medal,” Marzen said. noting the top 15 finishers are so honored. “That will be an end-of-year goal for next year, I think. She works so hard, I don’t put anything past her.”

Ballard, DC-G and Dubuque Wahlert claimed the top three teams spots with 66, 88, and 89 points, respectively. Raccoon River Conference teams Winterset and Carlisle were 12th and 13th in the 15-team field.

Karolus finished ahead of all Winterset runners and topped all but one Carlisle harrier.

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