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FORT DODGE – While on the championship podium for the second consecutive year, Spirit Lake’s leading man, junior Alec Baldwin, in his best Spartan imitation exclaimed, “Indians, what is your profession!”
One could argue that winning state cross country championships is what this crew does for a living.
With a total of 60 points and with all five runners in the top 30 – two in the top 10 – the Spirit Lake Indians dominated their competition en route to another state title.
“The second one feels just as good as the first,” said Spirit Lake coach Tim Heinitz.
Baldwin cracked the top five for the second straight year, this time finishing as the 2A runner-up in a time of 16 minutes, 22 seconds.
“We hoped that Alec would crack the top five,” said Heinitz. “We talked about how he was just going to run his race and he ran a really smart race.”
Freshman Will Norris came out of nowhere to place 10th for the Indians in a time of 16:49.
“Will kind of was the wildcard in the meet,” said Heinitz. “He was just a freshman and you never know how freshman are going to respond in a big meet like this. He snuck into that top 10 and was All-State. As a freshman that’s a big feat for him.”
Senior Brandon Griffin, competing in his first year in cross country, was next to cross the finish line for the Indians. He finished in 13th place in a time of 16:57.
“We couldn’t have asked more of Brandon in his first year out,” said Heinitz. “He performed really well in the meet.”
Mitch O’Neill shaved 13 seconds off of his time from his performance in last year’s state meet, finishing 31st with a time of 17:24.
Last year’s eighth place finisher, sophomore Keith Byers was hampered by injuries entering the state meet.but gutted out a time of 17:36 to help his team to victory.
“Keith was the biggest concern we had coming into the race,” said Heinitz. “He’s been hurt for a while, so we weren’t sure how he was going to respond to a huge meet where he had to get a fast start. He knew his role and what I wanted out of him and he did exactly what we needed him to do for us to win another state championship.”
Spirit Lake was followed by South Winneshiek (77), Wilton (102), OA-BCIG (136), Monticello (177), Pella Christian (195), Iowa City Regina (205), Wellman Mid-Prairie (210), East Marshall (213), Unity Christian (218), Hudson (222), Osage (225), Solon (303), Albia (347) and Roland Story (426).
Top individual went to Garret Ehlers of OA-BCIG with a time of 16:08.