Gracious Blazek takes second at state meet

Turkey Valley senior runs career-best time in Fort Dodge

She ran the race of her life, and it still didn’t give Turkey Valley’s Jalyssa Blazek that elusive first state cross country title.

And you know what?

Because of the first part of the opening sentence of this story, she’s OK with that.

Blazek burned up the Lakeside Municipal Golf Course Saturday at the Class 1A state meet with a time of 18:36.25. That was good enough to shatter her previous career-best time by more than 10 seconds. That was good enough to set a Class 1A state cross country meet record.

Except for one thing – or shall we say one person, Noelle Steines of Calamus-Wheatland, the freshman who claimed the 1A title with a run of 18:20.91.

“I just told her thank you for pushing me to a time I really didn’t know I had in me,” Blazek said. “I can’t be disappointed with that time, and as much as I wanted to win, I’m happy. How can I not be?”

While Blazek was making her run to a fourth-straight state cross country medal, her teammate, fellow senior Cambree Kruse, capped her career with a strong run to finish in the top half of the 1A field. Kruse covered the 3.1-mile course in 21:52.58, good for a 60th-place finish in the 152-girl field.

It was a fitting end for a Kruse, who had experienced so much disappointment at the 2020 state qualifying meet, — finishing 11th, one place away from going to the state meet.

— For more on the state cross country meet, see the Nov. 2 Tribune and the Nov. 4 Reporter

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