FORT DODGE | Lake Mills sophomore Carson Rygh had one thing on his mind all season — medal at the state meet.
After finishing 16th and just outside of that a year ago, Rygh accomplished his mission Saturday in the Class 1A boys race at the state cross country meet. His eighth-place finish in 16 minutes, 38.2 seconds left him feeling as good as he ever has after a race.
“It’s amazing. It’s the best day of my running career,” Rygh said. “This is what’s kept me going all year long … this moment right here.”
It wouldn’t come easy for Rygh, though.
With a fast pace set right out of the gate, Rygh did his best just to hang around so he could be in position to achieve his goal.
Even with the blistering pace, he said the first two miles felt pretty good, and then the third mile was up to him to achieve his goal.
Now with that out of the way, the only place to go is up over the final two years.
“I want to build from this and get top 3 next year, and then hopefully be champion my senior year,” Rygh said.
Nashua-Plainfield’s Brock Dietz had a similar goal to Rygh of medaling, but his motivator was a little different as last year he placed 16th at his state-qualifying meet and missed out on the state meet by one place.
That finish was on his mind Saturday as he ran to 13th-place in 1A in 16:44.5. He finished in the same pack as Rygh.
“It made me want to work harder and get down here,” Dietz said of last year’s letdown. “This feels good to finish as a senior with a pretty good place. I can’t complain about it.”
Also competing in the 1A race, Newman Catholic junior Isaac Fettkether finished his first race at state with a 56th-place showing in 17:39.6.
“It was pretty overwhelming,” Fettkether said. “There were a lot of people and I’ve never been in a race that busy. You couldn’t really necessarily tell where you were going, you just kind of follow the pack.”
He added that the experience will serve as a key motivator for himself and the rest of the Knights, who were disappointed they barely missed qualifying as a team, to chase their goals together at state next year.
Central Springs senior Ellis Regan closed out his prep cross country career with a 92nd-place finish in 18:06.9, and North Iowa senior Jordan Boekelman was 106th in 18:21.8.