FORT DODGE – In his third straight state appearance, Prince of Peace junior Marcus Blount finished in the top 30 competitors in the Class 1A race.

“I’m not fully satisfied on my place or my time,” Blount said after his race Saturday. :But I’m excited to end in Fort Dodge. The results are the results.”

Blount crossed the line in 17:31.20, good for 28th in the field (unofficially). It was the third consecutive trip for Blount, who will come back as a top runner his senior season.

“I think I’m kind of behind where I wanted to be this year,” Blount said. “I’ll just have to try to work harder next year to get my times lower. That’s one thing that motivates me but also going out four times in a row would be awesome as well.”

The Irish were led by Blount, and sported enough numbers for a boys team for the first time in Blount’s high school career. The Irish are hoping to be competitive as a group next year, led by Blount’s experience.

“It’s definitely a different experience having a team,” Blount said. “They make the meets more fun and I’m excited for next year when we really push to do well as a team.”

Blount spent a lot of the season ranked in the top runners in Class 1A. Although that wasn’t where he finished in the 1A race this season, he leaves plenty to look forward to as a senior.

“You can never be too disappointed when you end your season at a state meet like that,” Prince of Peace head coach Owen Howard said. “It wasn’t exactly what we wanted but it is what it is – you finished on the biggest stage that there is.”

GRUVER CAPS SENIOR YEAR AT STATE

Easton Valley’s Aidan Gruver capped his cross country career in Fort Dodge Saturday afternoon.

Gruver narrowly missed the top 50 in field of 150 runners. He finished in 17:53, 52nd place (unofficially).

Gruver was a state qualifier as a sophomore and narrowly missed qualifying his junior season. He qualified as a senior.

Gruver played in the 8-man football playoffs on Friday night, helping Easton Valley to a 60-7 win in the second round. He turned around and ran his race less than 24 hours later.

“There is no better feeling than knowing that all the work you have put into a sport pays off in you going to state,” Gruver said earlier this season.

JARGO, SOENKSEN FINISH TOP 50

Both Northeast individual qualifier notched top-50 finishes in their respective race. Carter Jargo and Cenady Soenksen, both juniors, were the only two individual qualifiers for the Rebels this year.

“Next year, I want to help push my team a little harder,” Jargo said. “We definitely have the potential to go as a team for both boys and girls, and I would like us to make a state appearance next year as a team.”

Cenady Soenksen was in her third state appearance and finished 47th in the Class 2A girls’ race.

Soenksen finished in 20:48.86 on Saturday.

Carter Jargo was running his first year in Fort Dodge, and finished 45th in the Class 2A boys’ contest. Jargo’s state time was 17:42.23.

“I had a really good experience honestly,” Jargo said. “Just with Cenady and everyone else being out there, they made it easy and my nerves weren’t as high I guess. I thought I did pretty good for my debut.

“At first, I was very nervous to see how I would do,” Jargo said. “After finishing, I was just proud knowing I made it in general. When I looked at all of the runners running, I thought well, this is cool.”

The Northeast boys had a number of runners within reach of state qualifying spots. Jargo has been the top finisher in multiple races his junior season and is hoping to take what he learned this year into a successful senior year in 2022.

“I learned that my mentality affects my running more than I would have expected,” Jargo said. “I never had the best mentality going into every race but this season I really stepped up my game in that department and it clearly benefited me a lot.”

SATTLER IMPROVES IN SECOND STATE APPEARANCE

FORT DODGE – Clinton sophomore Camryn Sattler didn’t necessarily get the result she wanted at the Class 4A state race on Friday morning, but it’s no doubt that she continues to prove herself to be a top cross country competitor.

“It wasn’t exactly what I wanted,” Sattler admitted. “But I’m really happy I keep improving.”

Sattler finished 33rd in the state on Friday at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge. In 2020, she finished 55th in Class 4A, jumping up 22 places.

“I went out perfect,” Sattler said. “I didn’t go too fast, didn’t go too slow and put myself in a good spot. The second mile, I ran with it.”

She also shaved 16 seconds off of her time from the previous year. Sattler crossed the finish line at 19:44.06. She finished her 2020 race in 20:00 flat, just in the top half of the 4A state field.

The winner of the Class 4A race Friday was Addison Dorenkamp from West Des Moines Valley, who clocked in at 17:55.

Sattler was the River Queens’ only state competitor this year and last. She earned first team all-conference honors in the Mississippi Athletic Conference Championships two weeks back and then grabbed her second consecutive state berth last week.

After qualifying as a freshman, Sattler set her sights on improving her standing in Class 4A. That included a tighter training regimen and more focus on the intricacies of her race.

“Over the summer, we did less mileage and put in a little more speed work,” Sattler said. “To make sure I was my best at the end of the season. I was a little iffy at the beginning, but I had full trust in my coaches. It was exactly what we wanted.”

She knows exactly where she wants to be in regards to the future of her high school cross country career- Sattler wants to be on the deck at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course receiving some hardware for her state efforts.

“I would take into [next year] just how much I want it,” Sattler said. “Going back each year, it just keeps reminding me why I put so much work in every single day. It’s motivating every year. It’s such a reward for everything you do.

“We still watch the awards ceremony every year and it’s showing me how much I want that.”

Clinton High School and the River King and Queen cross country team have been showing fan-fare all week in support of Sattler. That included shirts and posts and announcements to support her state trek.

“I love CHS so much,” Sattler said. “I love my cross country team. They are what motivates me to put in the work every single day. So many people texting me about them announcing my results or watching my results live. It’s really nice how supportive my school is and it gets me to work hard.”

Sattler will once again return as the leader of the River Queen cross country team, coming back in 2022 as an upperclassman. After two straight years of success and state appearances, she’s learning to trust in her talents and trust that she can compete at the top state levels.

“The biggest take away this year was to trust the process and have patience with myself,” Sattler said. “Really believe in myself. I am way faster, way stronger than I believe sometimes.”

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