FORT DODGE — The Class 2A boys race at the state cross country meet at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course produced three area medalists on Saturday.
Garner-Hayfield-Ventura’s Reece Smith secured his second consecutive top-5 finish, placing second, teammate Logan Dalbeck was seventh while Clear Lake’s Eric Faught was 14th.
“I gave it my all,” said Smith, who finished in a time of 16 minutes, 2.2 seconds as Ogden’s Andrew Stumbo won in 15:53.6. “I didn’t get the place I wanted but I can’t dwell on it. I gave it everything I had. I kept pushing until I couldn’t push anymore. Congratulations to him.”
Smith tried his best to catch up to Stumbo as they descended the final hill, but ultimately came up short.
“I knew the state championship was on the line,” Smith said. “He was way ahead of me and I really went hard to catch up to him. I was able to cut the gap in half but at the end fatigue just hit me and I didn’t have enough left.”
While Smith helped lead GHV to a fifth-place team finish with 163 points, Dalbeck – who was 13th last year – moved up six spots as he finished in a time of 16:39.4.
“Finishing in the top 10 was my goal from the beginning of the year,” Dalbeck said. “I knew I had put in the work. Even though this wasn’t my best race, it still feels good knowing I ended my career with a top-10 finish.”
While Dalbeck was happy with his individual performance, he was disappointed the Cardinals couldn’t defend their team title.
“We knew we were the target but we just had to try overcoming that by running our own race,” Dalbeck said. “We may not be taking home a state trophy but one thing I know for sure is that we worked our tails off.”
Dalbeck, Austin Siegrist, Mason Wirtz and Derek Brown all wrapped up their GHV careers on Saturday and Smith, a sophomore, showed respect to his teammates.
“We have great senior leaders,” Smith said. “It’s such a pleasure being able to run with them every single day. They should be very proud of what they’ve been able to do for the GHV program.”
Meanwhile, Faught helped Clear Lake to an eighth-place finish with 186 points as he finished in a time of 16:59.2 for the Lions as Mid-Prairie (Wellman) won the team title with 98 points.
“I wasn’t expecting this type of finish but I just ran a great race,” Faught said. “I went out hard and my legs started feeling sore right away. I was able to shake it off and slow myself down a little.”
However, Faught was surprised when he was able to see Dalbeck in front of him later in the race.
“When I first saw that I was near the two Garner kids I felt I was going too fast,” Faught said. “I never really see those two guys much throughout the race because they’re so fast but it was a good feeling as the race went on when I could still see Dalbeck.”
Faught’s ability to stay with Dalbeck didn’t surprise Clear Lake coach Nick DiMarco.
“Eric is such a great competitor,” DiMarco said. “I knew that he would use the experience from last year. I’m so proud of him for finishing in the top 15. It’s a first in my time coaching at Clear Lake.”
While Faught led the way, Sam Pedelty was 39th overall in 17:32.3 and Ike Branstad finished 67th in 17:58.7 for the Lions as all three return next season hoping to get Clear Lake to state for the third straight year.
“We’re hoping to build on our success of these last two years,” DiMarco said. “We had a lot of kids back this year who ran here last year and we’re hoping that next year will be even better.”