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ONE LAST LAP

SKARTVEDT HAS HIS GOALS SET HIGH AT STATE MEET

South Hamilton senior Ty Skartvedt will close out his prep cross country career at the state meet in Fort Dodge on Saturday. It will be Skartvedt’s third appearance at state in four years, but it will be his first time experiencing it without his teammates surrounding him. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

JEWELL — In 2019, Ty Skartvedt had a fall cross country season that most runners would probably like to forget. Seasonal allergies and asthma made each race a battle just to finish, a fight he didn’t always win.

But Skartvedt doesn’t want to forget the disappointing season. It’s part of his story, something that provided plenty of motivation as he forged ahead this fall.

He was bound and determined to not let it happen again. And it hasn’t.

“Last year was a bad season for me and from then I just wanted to make it to state and make up for my mistakes,” Skartvedt, a South Hamilton senior, said. “My asthma was super bad last year and I just had a mental block. I thought it was going to keep happening, so I kept panicking during races.

“This year I told myself that I can’t do it like I did last year. So throughout the summer, I tried as hard as I could until I felt sick each day.”

Ty Skartvedt (above) paced 64th at state in 2017 and 52nd in 2018. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Twelve weeks of training, somewhere in the vicinity of 250 miles on his shoes in those hot summer months, prepared him to take one more crack at a spot in the state meet.

Was it all worth it? You better believe it.

Following what can be considered nothing but a successful regular season, Skartvedt will close out his career at the state meet in Fort Dodge on Saturday. He’ll be a part of the Class 2A boys’ field that will go off from Lakeside Golf Course at 11 a.m.

And he can’t wait.

“It’s interesting seeing how it’s all gone,” he said. “It just went by so quickly this season and I’ve just tried to have fun with my team and in the meets. When I came into the season I thought it was going to be stressful, but running during practices took the stress out of me.”

South Hamilton senior Ty Skartvedt (left) runs alongside Webster City’s Jose Ramirez during the Lynx Invite at Briggs Woods Golf Course in Webster City in early September. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Skartvedt led South Hamilton in each meet during the regular season, highlighted by a gold medal run at the meet hosted by Colo-NESCO at Dakins Lake. And with a state-meet berth on the line at Eagle Grove Golf Course last week, he confidently moved up throughout the race and then sprinted across the finish line in eighth place to cement his spot.

“When we found out we were going to Eagle grove, I saw all of the teams there and searched them up,” Skartvedt said. “Most of the times were really close to mine, so I knew it was going to be a tight fit getting into the top 15. When it came to meet time, I just let everything go and ran my race.”

That focus and confidence in himself is what Hawks’ head coach Darrell Paulsen has appreciated this fall. He’s seen a growth in Skartvedt that makes him confident his pupil will close out his career with a flourish this weekend.

“I think he’ll run well,” Paulsen said. “He’s handled pressure a lot better this year than he has in the past and he’s got the ability. He just has to go out and run his race and he’ll do fine.”

This will be Skartvedt’s third run at the state meet. He was a key cog on South Hamilton’s teams that placed sixth in 2A in 2017, followed by a third-place finish in 1A in 2018. He placed 64th overall as a freshman and 52nd as a sophomore.

He’s got much loftier goals for his final run though. He wants to join his former teammates Logan Peters and Quinton Grove as state medalists. Peters was seventh in 2017, and Grove followed with back-to-back ninth-place performances in 2018 and 2019.

It will be a stretch, both Skartvedt and Paulsen know that. Skartvedt’s career-best time is 17:27 and he’ll have to finish in under 17 minutes on Saturday to challenge for a spot on the podium.

But never say never. He has knowledge of the course and he says he’s going to give it his best shot.

“I’d like to try to do like Quinton did and get into the top 10, and if that doesn’t happen then I want to get below 17 (minutes),” Skartvedt said. “It’s a flat course with only one or two hills on the back, and I know where to get out fast, where to pace myself and where to push it.”

A fast start will be key to a solid performance, Paulsen said.

“If you’re one of the first 10 kids to the corner, that’s great because then you don’t have to worry about the 100 other kids,” Paulsen said. “I know he’s looking to try to run his best time, and the last time we ran there he had a good finish at the end. He’s stronger this year and I think he’s mentally prepared better this year. It should be fun.”

The state cross country meet will be a two-day event this year in an attempt to limit the number of fans on the course due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes 4A and 3A will run on Friday, followed by 2A and 1A on Saturday.

State Meet Schedule

Lakeside Golf Course

Fort Dodge

Friday

10:30 a.m. — Class 4A girls race.

11 a.m. — Class 4A boys race.

3:30 — Class 3A girls race.

4:00 — Class 3A boys race.

Saturday

10:30 a.m. — Class 2A girls race.

11 a.m. — Class 2A boys race.

3:30 — Class 1A girls race.

4:00 — Class 1A boys race.

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