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Indians step up to 2A title

By Staff | Nov 4, 2008

The 2008 Class 2A Boys State Cross Country Champion Spirit Lake team celebrates its first title. From left to right are assistant coach David Frostestad, Keith Byers, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Baldwin, Tyler Gustafson, Jon Messer, Mitch O’Neill, Jordan Knox, Kenan McQueen and coach Tim Heinit. EDN photo by David Swartz

FORT DODGE -The Spirit Lake boys cross country team made the Class 2A state meet look like most of the regular season meets as the Indians won their first state title on Saturday.

Spirit Lake had two runners in the top 10 and four competitors complete the 5K course in under 17 minutes on the way to scoring 55 points-10 better than second-place PCM Monroe.

Among all runners, the Spirit Lake crew placed 3, 10, 15, 17, 26, 57, 96.

Displacement scoring factors out runners who qualified only as individuals so Spirit Lake’s team scoring was 3, 8, 11, 13, 20, 44, 79. The top five scores are added together to get the team score.

Only two Spirit Lake runners were under the 17-minute mark at districts.

“To have four guys under 17, that’s called stepping up,” said Spirit Lake coach Tim Heinitz. “I’ve told them the last week that if you’re going to win a state championship, you have to have everyone step up. Today our guys did that.”

Placing in the top 10 individually were sophomore Alec Baldwin in third place in 16 minutes 18 seconds. Freshman Keith Byers placed 10th in 16:40.

“Before the race, I was thinking Alec could crack the top 10-but at the end-maybe eighth or ninth,” Heinitz said. “Keith came out of nowhere.”

“It feels amazing to win a championship,” said Baldwin. “The team did good and I did good as an individual. I’m proud of my team.”

Byers said all the hard work before the season and the start of school and during school all paid off and is looking to do better in the future.

“I want to be in the top 10 next year and continue to keep moving up,” he said.

Heinitz said it was a testament to how tough the Spirit Lake District meet was with five of the top 10 individuals.

Two seniors were the next to cross the finish line. Tyler Gustafson ran the course in 16:53 and Jesse Baldwin in 16:57.

Gustafson said it “felt awesome” to win a state championship.

“This was my best time by over 20 seconds,” he said. “Being a senior and going to state all four years is great.”

“It’s the best feeling in the world to have the team run this good at state to finish the year,” said Jesse Baldwin.

Junior Mitchell O’Neill wasn’t far behind as he finished in 17:37.

Also running were seniors Jon Messer, who finished in 17:37, and Jordan Knox, who clocked in at 18:19.

“I thought we were pushing well. I just tried to give it may all because it’s my last year,” said Messer.

“I thought the race well well for all and I’m happy we won a championship,” said Knox.