Beckman freshman Maria Kruse runs to a third-place finish and a state cross country berth.

Beckman freshman Maria Kruse qualified for the Class 2A State Cross Country Meet, Oct. 30, at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge with her third place overall finish, Oct. 22, at the state-qualifying meet at the Jesup Golf Course.

Kruse’s time of 20:18 trailed only junior Amanda Treptow and freshman Clare Wright, both of Jesup, who ran 19:38 and 19:58. Her time also set a school record for girls.

“Maria had an unforgettable performance, finishing third and qualifying for state on Halloween. Her time is a new school record and her third-place finish, is, to the best of my knowledge, the best finish of any Beckman runner at a state-qualifying meet.

“She ran an extremely smart race, like she always does. She was patient the first mile, then moved up in the second, putting her in a pack around third place. She finished hard and left the pack in the dust.

“We are excited to watch her compete next weekend,” said coach Tyson Squiers.

The team ended in 10th place in the meet won by Tipton with 54 points and four top 10 runners. Second was Starmont with 78, a slim point ahead of Jesup at 79. Not qualifying for the team meet were North Fayette Valley 164, Crestwood 180, Waukon 199, New Hampton 218, Northeast 221, La Porte City Union 237, Beckman 242, Anamosa 248, Oelwein 251 and Osage 298.

Counting as well for the Blazers were Abby Knepper 36th (22:06), Ellie Recker 69th (24:21), Isabelle Kluesner 70th (24:30) and Sydney Reiter 71st (24:34). Kennedy Recker ran 76th (25:15) and Savanah Oberbroeckling 82nd (26:04).

“Abby ended her season on a high note, improving her PR by over a minute, earning her the fifth spot on the all-time list for Beckman. She has been a huge part of our success this year and it’s great to see the success she’s had personally, especially with only one year of cross country.

“Ellie was our next finisher, running her fastest time of the season by almost a minute. This is also her first year of cross country and she has really stepped up these last couple of meets.

“Isabelle ran her last race as a Blazer today and ran her second-fastest time of the season. Even with battling injuries this year, she has been extremely positive and is always willing to help her teammates. During the race, she is constantly pushing the teammates around her and motivating them. She will definitely be missed.

“Sydney capped her season with a PR that was 23 seconds faster and over two minutes better than last year’s district time. Kennedy was our sixth runner and earned her second-fastest time of the year despite battling illness earlier in the week. Savanah finished her career today and equaled her previous best, over a minute faster than last year’s district time. They all finished their season on a high note, which is exactly what we aim to do. That gives us a lot of motivation for next fall,” concluded Squiers.

Kruse was pretty happy with her race. “My parents helped me plan for this race. They looked at old races and we decided who I should stay with, who ran my pace. I knew if I could stay with them I would be successful. I also don’t let myself get tired that way.”

When queried about the next four years, Kruse said, “Yeah, I was kind of thinking about that on the way home. Wouldn’t it be great if I could repeat, keep making it to state? I will have to keep running so I can be ready for that, and for the race next week, which comes first.”

Auden Recker led the boys’ team with a 55th in 19:24. Jacob Schlarmann added a 67th (19:45), Joe Schneider 75th (20:21), Spencer Rea 78th (20:28) and Ryan Schlarmann 81st (21:02). Also running were Nate Schaefer 84th (21:37) and Cassius McGrane 87th (22:06).

In the team race, Tipton made it a clean sweep with 43, followed by Waukon 100, NFV 107, Crestwood 130, Jesup 152, Northeast 155, Anamosa 163, New Hampton 188, Oelwein 220, Starmont 241, Waterloo Columbus 316, Union 317, Osage 350 and BHS 358.

“Auden equaled his season-best, which beat his district time of last year by over a minute,” added Squiers. “Jacob equaled his season-best again, showing his consistency even as a freshman. Joe and Spencer worked in tandem again, with Joe two minutes faster than last year and a PR of over 30 seconds. Spencer improved by 45 seconds. Ryan ended his season with a six-second PR and Cassius ran over 30 seconds faster than last year’s district time. Nate ended his career with his second-fastest time of the season. He battled through some injuries this year, but came back at the end and really pushed hard. The boys’ team is very young and we look forward to seeing what they can do in the future.

“The district meet is always our big meet of the season and obviously where we have the opportunity to have athletes qualify for state but also one more chance for a PR. That could be one more for the season or for the career. That creates an atmosphere with hints of pressure, excitement and closure. Today those things were also met with the challenge of difficult weather. Rain, cold and wet conditions made for some challenging races but our athletes overcame all of that and had performances that should bring pride and closure to the season.

“The Jesup course was set up very well and the crowd was lively. Athletes were putting everything on the line to earn a trip to Fort Dodge or to get one last PR.

“We look forward to getting back together to cheer on Maria at state and celebrate our banquet a few weeks later. It has been an amazing season and very rewarding,” ended Squiers.