FORT DODGE — Reece Smith’s feelings on finishing second place in whatever he runs is well documented. The short of it — he’s not a big fan.
On Saturday at the Class 2A state cross country meet at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course, Smith had to settle for second place for the second year in a row, but he was able to make peace with it due to the nature of the race.
George-Little Rock/Central Lyon’s Gable Sieperda was the individual champion in 15 minutes, 18.6 seconds while Smith came in second in 16:03.9.
“It kind of sucks but I lost to somebody good,” He’s an established runner — he’s the state record holder in the 3,200 in Class 1A — and he’s ran some fast times. I knew he was good but I didn’t think he’d run that well. Overall, I’m not disappointed but it’s nothing to write home about I guess.”
Sieperda was the pacesetter early on, and the rest of the field was left to try and chase him down.
Smith was in that chase pack over the first half of the race, stuck back in third place, but as the race wore on, Smith hunted down second and was all by himself.
The only problem — Sieperda’s lead had grown too large for Smith to track him down as well.
“They went out really hard so I just kind of did my thing,” Smith said. “I hung back and then started picking people off. I got up there pretty well — I think I went through in about 5:04 which was pretty much where I wanted to be — and then I got a couple kids to go with me. We were gaining pretty well, and then the kids I was with fell off and I was by myself on an island.”
When it was all over, all that was left was a chance for Smith to reflect on a career of near misses — he was second in the 3,200 at the state track and field meet as a freshman, second in last year’s cross country meet, second again in the 3,200 at state this past May, and now second in his junior cross country meet.
He’ll have one more cross country season and two more track season to try and rectify that.
“It definitely fuels the fire,” Smith said. “I’m going to go home and go to work, put my head down and do it again. I don’t think this is going to happen again. I think this is the start of something great and I’m ready to move on.”
Smith’s finish was the top for a GHV team making yet another appearance at the state meet, and the second-place showing helped the Cardinals to fifth in the team race. George-Little Rock/Central Lyon was the team champion.
For the Cardinals, Ray Cataldo placed 40th (17:30.7), Blake Lynch was 42nd (17:33.1), Dalton Kelly placed 54th (17:47.9) and Jake Hejlik rounded out the scoring in 91st (18:20.5). All but Cataldo, who is a senior, will be back next year.