PETERS GUTS HIS WAY INTO TOP 10, HAWKS 6TH
Junior sets PR by 12 seconds, places 7th in 2A
FORT DODGE — The longstanding narrative goes something like this: Logan Peters, a great runner with a not-so-great finish. Well, say goodbye to that one.
On the big stage, in front of a few thousand fans, the South Hamilton junior put together the final half-mile of his life, one loaded with guts, determination and quite a bit of speed at Saturday’s state cross country meet.
Peters, who had his sights set on the top 15 in the Class 2A field prior to the gun going off, outperformed even his own expectations by placing seventh in a career-best time of 16:42.8 at Lakeside Golf Course. It was just the second time this season and third time overall that he broke 17 minutes; his previous best time was 16:56.
“I’m ecstatic right now,” a still-winded but smiling Peters said just minutes after he crossed the finish line and gave a fist pump. “I didn’t sleep at all (Friday) night because I was so nervous, but I was ready to go.”
South Hamilton finished sixth in the team race for the second straight season. The Hawks tallied 178 points, just nine points out of fifth. Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (79 points) took home the team title, while 2016 state champion Mid-Prairie (93) settled for second.
Peters, who wasn’t even ranked in the top 30 entering the meet, hung inside the top 10 throughout the 5K excursion, but that’s nothing new to the three-time state qualifier. What was unique was his final half-mile surge that allowed him to fend off a slew of runners up the last hill and on the sprint down the final straightaway. He finished just one step out of sixth and held a three-second cushion over eighth-place finisher Ethan Albright (16:45.5) of Okoboji.
The setting and adrenaline both aided his final push. All of those practice sessions battling teammates Quinton Grove and Josiah Brown didn’t hurt either.
“I thought my finish was a lot better because it was the state meet, and if you slip up that could be two, three or four spots at the end,” he said. “I just had a good finish and I attribute that to Josiah and Quinton pushing me in practice to finish races.”
Peters’ friendly rivals were among the hoard of individuals in the South Hamilton camp waiting to give him a hug afterwards. Grove (17:17.1), who also attained his pre-race goal of finishing in the top 30 — he was 25th — said Peters’ success will help him in the future, too.
“Logan getting that place is awesome for him and that’s definitely going to drive me,” Grove said. “I’ll be right there with him next year.”
Peters is the first state medalist in the Darrell Paulsen era. It was Paulsen, the Hawks’ head coach, who was helping to pace Peters.
“Logan ran a helluva race,” he said. “Usually he fades at the end, but this time he didn’t. This is going to jumpstart Logan and Quinton too (for next season).”
Grove was able to pass Brown, the Hawks’ lone senior, down the stretch. Brown (17:34.0) was 43rd and he admitted that the early pace took a toll on his performance, but he has no regrets.
“I definitely ran my butt off, but I think I took off a little too early in the race,” Brown said. “But that’s OK … we had a good season and Logan ran a great race. So it’s pretty satisfying.”
Freshman Ty Skartvedt (17:53.5) had plenty of gas left in the tank for the final sprint as well and he was able to pick off several runners to grab 64th place. Aaron Hegland (18:34.1), a sophomore and first-year cross country runner, gave South Hamilton its fifth score; he was 105th overall.
“Ty is going to get better and he’s going to get stronger, and we’re going to ask a lot of him next year,” Paulsen said. “It’s the same with Aaron … Aaron came out basically to stay in shape for basketball and he ran really well. If it wasn’t for those two, we wouldn’t have had the season we did.”
Logan Austin (19:19.1) finished 123rd and Clay Willadsen (20:41.1) was 135th to round out the Hawks’ team.
With six runners returning, there’s no doubt that expectations will be high next season. But Paulsen says Brown won’t be easy to replace.
“He’s had a great career and I can’t ask for anything more,” Paulsen said of Brown. “We’re going to miss him, I know that.”
Gable Sieperda of Central Lyon/George-Little Rock owned the 2A field en route to the individual state crown. His time of 15:18.6 was the fastest clocking off the day regardless of class.
State Cross Country Meet
Saturday at Lakeside Golf Course
Class 2A Boys
1. Central Lyon/George-Little Rock 79; 2. Mid-Prairie 93; 3. Tipton 143; 4. Sioux Center 149; 5. Garner-Hayfield/Ventura 169; 6. South Hamilton 178; 7. Williamsburg 179; 8. South Hardin 224; 9. Aplington-Parkersburg 230; 10. Unity Christian 233; 11. Des Moines Christian 235; 12. Sheldon 240; 13. Monticello 251; 14. Okoboji 272; 15. East Marshall 301.
Individual Top 10
1. Gable Sieperda (CL/GLR) 15:18.6; 2. Reece Smith (GHV) 16:03.9; 3. Joe Anderson (CL/GLR) 16:21.4; 4. Spencer Moon (S.C. Calhoun) 16:32.7; 5. Lake LaBahn (Union) 16:37.0; 6. Blake Johnson (CL/GLR) 16:40.0; 7. Logan Peters (S. Ham) 16:42.8; 8. Ethan Albright (OKO) 16:45.5; 9. Peyton Miller (M-P) 16:46.2; 10. Floyd Evans (M-P) 16:47.8.
Other South Hamilton Results
25. Quinton Grove 17:17.1; 43. Josiah Brown 17:34.0; 64. Ty Skartvedt 17:53.5; 105. Aaron Hegland 18:34.1; 123. Logan Austin 19:19.1; 135. Clay Willadsen 20:41.1.