DES MOINES — Iowa freshman long-distance runner Anna Hostetler lived in first place in high school when she ran for Mid-Prairie.
Hostetler was an eight-time state track and field champion in high school. She won the Drake Relays 3,000-meter run in 2017.
Thursday, Hostetler returned to Drake Stadium to compete in the Drake Relays in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Hostetler started the race slow. She was third to last in the 21-person heat in the first 200 meters. But as the laps went by, Hostetler slowly passed some of the other competitors and was among the leaders in the trail pack.
She finished 13th with a personal record time of 10 minutes, 57.25 seconds. Her previous best was 11:02.82.
“It’s great to be back at Drake and compete here again,” Hostetler said. “To get a PR here is awesome.”
Hostetler has learned a lot in her short time at Iowa. The most important thing she’s learned is that she no longer lives in first place.
As a competitor her goal is to win, but she also has to keep things in perspective and focus on improving.
“Not comparing yourself and getting down on yourself when you don’t do as good as you want and keeping a positive attitude is the biggest thing I’ve learned,” Hostetler said. “And remember you’re ultimately doing this for Jesus Christ and not for yourself.
“You have to remember you have to push yourself and make yourself better no matter the result.”
This is also the first year Hostetler has competed in the steeplechase — Iowa high schools don’t have the event.
She had to get used to jumping over the hurdles scattered throughout the track all while keeping her rhythm. And to top it all off, someone decided it would be a good idea to put a pool of water after one of the hurdles, just to make it that much harder to maintain that rhythm.
But Hostetler enjoys the event.
“It’s been fun to learn,” Hostetler said. “The coaches have spent a lot of time with me and have been really patient with me and helping me learn it. I really appreciate that.”
While she finished in the middle of the pack at the Drake Relays, she knows she has room to grow.
“I have a lot more in me in this event and I just have to keep pushing to get that,” Hostetler said.