by Steve Peterson
Akron-Westfield runner Garrett Wall competed at the Class A State Boys Cross Country meet finishing in 35th place Oct. 27 at Kennedy Park in Fort Dodge with a time of 17:23.
“He went right after it. He was up there in 15th place for the first couple of miles,” said A-W Coach Dusty Meinen.
Wall started in the same group as Hinton’s Drew Schlitz, whom he beat by seven spots.
“Absolutely that was great for him. He had been chasing Drew all season,” said Meinen.
Meinen said overall it was a good effort from Wall, a senior, pointing out Wall finished 35th out of 131 runners.
Wall had qualified for state by finishing in sixth place at the Class 1A State Qualifying meet at Holstein on Oct. 22 in a time of 17:41.
“He ran aggressively. He was not going to settle for 10th (the last qualifying place). There was quite a distance between him and the seventh-place finisher,” said Meinen.
Runners finishing ahead of Wall and qualifying Oct. 22 were: Jack Walstrom, a junior from Manson-Northwest, won the race with a time of 16:47.35; Alex Van Ginkel, a junior from Trinity Christian, took runner-up honors with a time of 16:57.16; Micah Bajema, a junior from West Lyon, was third in 17:09.56; Darrian Irlbeck, a senior from Tri-Center, was fourth in 17:20.21 and Drew Schlitz, a senior from Hinton, was fifth in 17:26.28.
A-W’s Trevor Hansen, a junior, was 130th with a time of 24:17.61.
A-W returned to cross country competition this Fall.
Wall thanked Coach Dusty Meinen for helping out.
“I really appreciate what he’s done. If it wasn’t for him we probably would not have had a team, and I’m glad he stepped in and helped out, ” said Wall.
“I just hoped to do good. I’m hoping somewhere in the Top 10 would be great, awesome.
“I’ll be training a lot more this Winter for track. This time I hopefully will medal because I was 10th last time.
“I wanted to do cross country because I’m not in football. I wanted to try it and thought I would do well. It’s just hills. I like it because I don’t like to count my laps. I wanted to work to the 16 minute area; that’s a real good time. I’ve been getting close to it. I try to keep up with Drew. He’s always ahead of me. I always have to try and beat him,” said Wall.
“We haven’t had a full season, about a quarter-season and they all are trying. Mr. Briggs (Grades 9-12 Principal Derek) announced it over the announcements that the school would offer it. Hansen wanted to do it last year. Jaclyn Smith said I want to do it to be in shape too and be healthy.
“More students will be more likely, because of cross country, to get in shape, and influenced to go running,” said Wall. “It’ll be cold and hilly (at state). It’s been pretty decent, sometimes cold and windy.
“It will motivate students to get in shape for other sports. I think it’s a good thing for A-W,” said Wall. “A small team is better than no team.”
Wall qualified for the state boys’ track and field meet, in the 3,200-meter run last Spring.
Wall also competes at the bull riding competition in rodeos. He placed fifth in the Interstate Rodeo Circuit event in Lincoln, NE, recently in the bull riding.
Girls’ qualifying results
Kiley Schoen, a freshman, was 101st in the girls’ race with a time of 22:29.39. Jaclyn Smith, a senior, had a finish of 109th with a time of 23:54.94.