FT. DODGE — It was the fourth time Mt. Pleasant’s Abby Ryon has run at the state cross-country meet at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course while Washington’s Lance Sobaski tried to take it all in his first visit.
Ryon saved her best for last while Sobaski can only get better.
Ryon has had a goal to break the 19-minute barrier and did that Saturday when she placed seventh in the Class 3A girls race with a time of 18 minutes, 55.3 seconds.
“My last official high school race is kind of nuts,” Ryon said. “I probably would have liked to have finished in the top five The competition was great, as usual, and I finally got sub-19 officially. So it was a good day.”
Adriana Katcher won with a time 18:29.4.
“Honestly the wind was tough,” Ryon said. “It just felt like a good race. Senior year, last time, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world right now. It’s a blessing, being able to run in beautiful weather. Everything just went right.”
The boys race saw Nate Mueller win in 15:45.7. Washington’s Lance Sobaski was 95th with a time of 17:48.9.
“My goal for today was just to lay it all out and leave it all out there,” said Sobaski, who is a sophomore. “The biggest goal of the season was to get here and I have done that. It was just about being able to go have fun and do my best. It was my first time running here and hopefully I’m back for two more.”
The day saw sun but a constant wind made the 40 degrees seem even colder.
“It was windy. You try to tuck in behind somebody,” Ryon said. “Find a tall girl and get in behind her and let her block the wind. Being 5-foot-4 is actually kind of nice.”
“The would’ve been perfect if there was a little less wind,” Sobaski said. “The wind helped in some areas, like on the backside where the dog leg is the wind pushed me up a little and helped my ego and my speed.”
Sobaski’s run was bittersweet because teammate Evan Horak was on the course cheering for him instead of running with him.
“Running without Evan was pretty rough, but he was out on the course with me in spirit,” Sobaski said. “He was cheering me on the whole time, so that helped. He was telling me when to surge. Overall, he has been a great teammate and a great friend. He is amazing.”
Ryon will miss many people after she graduates.
“(My career) has been such a blessing,” she said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love my coaches. I love my teammates. I love my family, just everybody who has helped me through. It’s just been perfect.”
Ryon will run in the Heartland Nike Cross Regional Nov. 11 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Next year, she will move up the road to Iowa City to compete at the NCAA Division I level.
I’m want to get a feel for big competition like I would see at Iowa,” she said. “I’m really excited to be going there. It’s a great team, a great group of girls. The campus is really beautiful. And the coaches are really great there. I’m really excited to continue at a Big Ten school. I’ll be a three-season athlete there, doing cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track. I’ll be busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
She already knows what she wants to study.
“Human physiology. I want to combine my love of running and science,” she said. “Studying human anatomy and how running affects your body and scientific stuff like that.”
The kind of job that will lead to is up in the air but she wants a job that will be mostly research based.
“Working in a lab and hopefully working with some pro athletes at Nike, if I get that far, that’s my dream job,” Ryon said. “I just want to wake up and be happy to go to work at least 75 percent of the time. I want to love what I do. As long as I find something I love to do, I’ll be happy.”