Running To Wisconsin

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Running To Wisconsin

Meg Andersen (third from left) starts off strong in a race against older girls.

Meg Andersen (third from left) starts off strong in a race against older girls.

Ginger Andresen

Meg Andersen (third from left) starts off strong in a race against older girls.

Ginger Andresen

Ginger Andresen

Meg Andersen (third from left) starts off strong in a race against older girls.

Liam Carr, Staff Reporter

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One year ago 8th grader Jacob Clark punched his ticket to qualify in the National Lutheran Cross Country Championship in Wisconsin. Sadly, during the weeks prior to the meet, Clark fell victim to a serious injury; a stress fracture in his leg which withheld him from running. After being in a cast for what seemed like months Clark had one main goal: to reach the 2019 National meet again, but this time to participate in the run. 

“I feel like I have earned my chance to run at the (National) meet again,” Clark said. 

One of the qualifications to run at the National meet is that the athlete must run under a 14:21 two-mile. Clark blew that out of the water by running a 12:19 two-mile on September 28th at Holland Hall.

“My goal for the (national) meet is to be under a 12-minute two-mile,” Clark said.

When asked about winning the national championship, Clark said with a smile, “it’s only my first time doing nationals so I don’t want to set the goal too high, but I don’t want to set it too low either; it’s just right.”

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Jacob Clark pushes through the finish line at practice.

Clark has worked hard for many months to reach this unique opportunity. On a typical practice, he goes for about a 20 minute run after working out at the gym with weight lifting coach Mr. Emsy Clark. He ends the practice by doing some calisthenics targeted for his core. He does not do a large amount of running outside of practice due to the intensity of each workout (that is how he injured himself last year). Clark loves running and seeing how he competes against himself.

“When you continue to run it’s just times, but when you run the same race again and you get a faster time that just feels really good and you see how you’re doing better than last time,” Clark said.

Sixth grade running fanatic Meg Andresen has also run her way into the National meet. To qualify she had to run a sub  15:50 two-mile (that is the median time of the runners from the previous year). Meg ran a 14: 38 two-mile. 

“I made it in, but I still think I have to work my hardest to get a good spot,” Andresen said. 

She said she enjoys running with older girls in the cross country meets because then she does not have to worry about winning. She focuses on them pushing her to have a better time. 

“I like it when Coach Mueller is out there, so he can tell me my time and I can slow down or speed up,” Andresen said.

Her goal for the National meet is to reach a 13:30 two-mile. 

“I’m really nervous about the race because Mr. Mueller told me the top time and that made me really scared because it’s like 13 (minute) something and I’m only up to 14 (minute) right now,” Andresen said. 

The winning time from the National meet last year for the 6th grade and under division was 13:39. If Andresen sticks to her goal, the cross country runners have a big possibility of coming home with gold medals.