Schellhorn, Keehner represent MFL MarMac well at state cross country meet

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MFL MarMac runners Jacob Schellhorn and Cora Keehner capped off their cross country seasons at the state meet in Fort Dodge on Oct. 28. (Photo by Will Koether)

A career best time of 16:37.18 propelled MFL MarMac sophomore Jacob Schellhorn to ninth place in Class 1A at the state cross country meet. (Photo by Will Koether)

Cora Keehner finished 91st among 150 runners, after qualifying in just her first high school season. (Photo by Will Koether)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

MFL MarMac runners Jacob Schellhorn and Cora Keehner capped off their cross country seasons at the state meet in Fort Dodge on Oct. 28. Schellhorn placed ninth in the Class 1A boys race, while Keehner finished 91st among 150 girls runners.

 

2022 marked Schellhorn’s second trip to state. The sophomore finished 36th a season ago, and his goal this time around was the top 10. He achieved it with a career best 16:37.18.

 

“It was very fast,” Schellhorn said of the race. “I knew those first 400 meters we were going to have to sprint the whole time. That was the fastest I feel like I’ve ever run before because I knew if I got stuck behind people, then the race is over. I got out really good and was with the front pack for awhile. That was fun.”

 

Last year’s state experience was most helpful near the finish, though.

 

“I was in 11th place coming down the hill, and last year I started sprinting at the top of the hill, then I lost a bunch of places. This year, I knew I had to wait to get to the bottom of the hill before I started to sprint,” Schellhorn explained.

 

“It was nice I could actually finish well,” he added.

 

Schellhorn hopes to improve even more next year. Whether MFL MarMac remains in Class 1A or bumps up to 2A, he feels confident.

 

“We looked at my time, and I would’ve gotten ninth in 2A also,” he said.

 

Running during the summer, like he did this year, will help.

 

“I’d like to be a state champ,” Schellhorn said, “but you have to work at it.”

 

State was a new experience for Keehner, a freshman competing in her first high school season. Qualifying wasn’t necessarily on her mind early on.

 

“I was just focused on starting the season. I never really thought about state,” she shared. “It was my first year running 3.1 miles for cross country. It took awhile, but my summer practice really helped me. Once practicing with the team started, I felt like I had some adrenaline in me and knew I could accomplish 3.1 and could make my time faster.” 

 

Her time at Fort Dodge was 21:58.58—a total Keehner said could have improved with better positioning.

 

“I wish I ran a little faster, but there were just so many people there, and I couldn’t get around them...I just stayed at a slower pace than I normally had,” she said. “But I still felt I finished at a good time for state.”

 

Keehner appreciated the crowd scattered throughout the race.

 

“It was really exciting to have people there keeping your adrenaline pumping the entire time,” she said.

 

Like Schellhorn, Keehner hopes to build on this experience heading into the 2023 season. Her goal is to run 21 minutes consistently, and even hit some times in the high 20s.

 

She said her improved sprinting will help.

 

“I did a lot better at sprinting out this year, and that really helped me. If I didn’t sprint out, I would’ve gotten stuck behind and stayed at a slow pace,” Keehner explained. “Getting your blood pumping and just fighting through the pack keeps you motivated to get that good time.”

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