Disappointment for Witt at state meet

By Kristi Nixon

FORT DODGE — St. Ansgar’s Riley Witt couldn’t deny that he was disappointed following a 34th-place finish in his final high school cross country race.

Entering the meet ranked first, Witt, who technically lives in the Osage school district, was among the top-two after the first mile and top-seven after the second mile.

After that, his final mile split dropped off by two full minutes, a part of the course he says was the toughest, and has the most hills. He crossed the finish line in 17:36.74.

St. Ansgar’s Riley Witt (1060) runs with the lead pack in the first mile of the Class 1A state cross country meet. Witt fell off in the final mile to finish 34th overall. EJ Photo/Kristi Nixon

“It is me and this course…is brutal,” Witt said. “And I don’t know what it is about it. It doesn’t like me and wants to kick my butt. I was feeling good the first two miles. The last mile probably was the most hilly and it broke me. I think all of the energy and feeding off of so many more people, hearing constant yelling. It’s nice, but it’s draining.

“Before the meet, I thought I was 95 percent. I don’t know. Something is up.”

Coach Colin Zidlicky pointed out that though this is his final high school cross country race of his career, his career is far from over.

“Everyone is saying you’ve had a good career, the first thing I said when we got back to camp is your career isn’t over yet, it’s just the high school chapter,” Zidlicky said. “It is nowhere near the end of the story. Greater things have yet to come.”

Witt had support from several of his St. Ansgar friends and teammates.

“Obviously, being home schooled I could have picked any school I wanted to and I’m glad I picked St. Ansgar,” Witt said. “We didn’t have a team some years but the team we did, we had fun. Good memories, for sure.”

And Zidlicky is proud of the runner, who still finished ahead of more than 120 competitors and most importantly, finished. Earlier in the girls 2A race, the early leader was unable to complete the course.

“I’m amazingly proud,” Zidlicky said. “Who knows if I’ll have another student who takes so much pride and dedication to anything (he does). I lead and coach a lot of stuff at our school. I haven’t yet to find another student who is dedicated in this way to the team, himself and outside of the season to the sport. Something special for sure.”

The story will be updated in the Nov. 6 print edition of the Enterprise Journal.

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