FORT DODGE — Perry sophomore Grace Stewart became the first Jayette harrier in six seasons to run in the state meet Saturday, finishing 106th in Class 3A field of 139 in 21 minutes, 28.8 seconds.
The course at Kennedy Park features only two slight hills, and is one of the flatter courses most runners see during their season. While making no excuses, Perry head coach Nathan Krohn said the lack of steeper hills worked against Stewart.
“This is a tough course to run a good time, especially for someone like Grace who is usually a little stronger on hills,” he said. “Everyone here is a great runner and I don’t think she was used to being a far in the back as she was — it was a little intimidating for her, but a first trip to the state meet can be.”
Krohn said the goal for Stewart is to set a pace in the 3.1 mile race that equates to the first mile in roughly 6-1/2 minutes, with the second mile at 7 minutes and the final 1.1 miles in 7-1/2 minutes.
“She was out in the first mile today in 6:17 and right at 7 minutes in the second mile,” Krohn said. “We learned some things today that will help us in the future, and the bright part about it is Grace still has two years left.”
Davenport Assumption sophomore Julia Schumacher was the 3A individual champion in 19:01.8, with Spirit Lake freshman Kortney Delperding the runner-up in 19:04.5. McKayle Cole (Jr., Charles City) was third in 19:11.5, Lexi Smith (So., DC-G) was fourth in 19:19.8 and Abby Kohut-Jackson (Sr., Ballard) placed fifth in 19:20.5.
Davenport Assumption (131 points), Pella (145), Dubuque Wahlert (146), DC-G (158) adn Decorah (164) were the top five 3A team finishers.
Krohn had previously stated that having Stewart run under 21 minutes (she qualified for state in 20:50.59) was the goal at the start of this season.
“I am proud of how hard Grace has worked and how far she has come,” he stated. “Now we need to get her down in the low 20-minutes or high 19-minute mark. She has the talent to do it; what it will come down to is how hard she want to work in the off-season and where she wants to be at the start of next August.”