Schmitz start

Hutchinson eighth-grader Isabelle Schmitz, center, wearing No. 21, gets off to a fast start at the beginning of the Class 2A Girls Cross Country Championship Saturday. Schmitz ended up finishing 17th place overall, which was five places better than her finish last year.

Isabelle Schmitz was visibly diappointed following the Girls Class 2A State Cross Country Championship Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The Hutchinson eighth-grader was hoping for a top-10 finish to earn her first state medal, but instead she settled for 17th place out of 176 runners and another All-State finish.

Although her time of 18:41.6 was about five seconds slower than her state time last year, the good news was she improved on her 22nd-place finish in 2018. That’s a solid finish for any runner, but with such high hopes Schmitz couldn’t help feeling a little let down.

“I feel that I could of ran better, definitely,” Schmitz said after the race. “Some things got to my head while I was running. When people started passing me, that hurt a little. But overall I moved up in places from last year, that’s what I mainly wanted.”

Schmitz got out of the gates fast and was in third place for the first 1,600 meters with a time of 5:37.2. At the 3,200-meter mark, however, Schmitz fell back to 11th but was still in good shape to crack that top 10. She was counting on her ability to run up hill and manage her stamina to help her close toward, but she learned others at state were also strong in those areas.

“When other girls are good at doing hills, too, that’s kind of hard to adjust to,” Schmitz said.

Ultimately she missed out on the 10th-place spot by 6.6 seconds. The state champion, Analee Weaver of Stillwater, ran the race in 17:46.1, about a minute faster than Schmitz.

Although she fell short of her big goals this year, Schmitz remains driven to continue improving so she can take another shot at state in the years to come.

“I just want to keep moving up places as I get older,” Schmitz said. “This year I set the bar a little too high.”

She believes that next year a top-10 finish will be a more attainable goal if she continues putting in the work that needs to be done. Her training for 2020 begins Sunday when she plans to compete at the Nike Cross Regionals at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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