MASON CITY, Iowa – As the high school cross country season begins to wind down, local teams are gearing up for conference meets and state qualifiers.
“We’re hoping we do well” said head coach Mike Schutt. “We know we’re defending champs in both the boys and the girls and so we’re hoping we can run well and defend those championships. It’s not going to be easy, there’s good teams on both sides there.”
KIMT had the opportunity to join Newman Catholic at practice on Thursday evening to see how they are preparing for the postseason.
“We’re just doing the same thing we’ve been doing all season except we’re kind of increasing the miles and the intensity” said Stephen Ringo. “We’re gradually getting better towards the end of the season.”
That gradual improvement is showing in the rankings. The boys are ranked fourth in Class 1A and the girls are ranked tenth.
“That’s probably a good place for us right now. I think by the time the state meet comes, I think we can get in the top three” said Ringo.
With the Top of Iowa Conference meet being postponed from Thursday to Monday, it allows the team a little extra time to prepare.
“It’s really nice because when we do have a meet cancelled, we’ll be able to run further and harder, so it really helps us prepare for future meets” said Grace Henrich.
The extra time to prepare is beneficial to the girls as they look to qualify for their sixth-consecutive state meet.
“We’re really hoping to be conference champs again because we were last year and definitely qualify for state because we want to keep that tradition going and I think we can do it” said Henrich.
Henrich is also no stranger to this high-level competition.
“I’ve had two older brothers do cross country and two of my older sisters did it” said Henrich. “Then my younger brother is now a freshman so it’s just really cool to be a part of that.”
Coach Schutt is confident in his team, but says it is important for everyone to keep reality in check.
“I think if we run like we’ve been running all year both teams should be okay. You never know, there’s usually at those meets always somebody you’re not expecting to kind of step-up and have a good meet and you’re surprised by that team” said Schutt.