Three-peat for Witt

By Kristi NIxon

MASON CITY — Make it a three-peat for St. Ansgar senior Riley Witt.

The Class 1A top-ranked runner for the Saints navigated the NIACC cross country course in the Top of Iowa Conference meet in 16 minutes, 14 seconds to earn his fourth first team all-conference finish, the last three on top.

St. Ansgar’s Riley Witt points heavenward after winning his third straight Top of Iowa Conference cross country title, this time at the NIACC campus in Mason City on Thursday, Oct. 14. EJ Photo/Kristi Nixon

“My sophomore year to my senior year, I think I’ve grown a lot in confidence for sure,” Witt said. “I came in not nearly as nervous as I was the last two years just because I was knowing I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. I knew if I showed up and did what I knew I could do, it would happen.

“I feel really good about it; really happy.”

He ran to 17:15.73 when he won the separated conference meet at Osage due to precautions with COVID-19 and finished seventh as a freshman in 17:45.4. Official results from his sophomore championship season were unavailable.

And Witt hasn’t started his taper yet.

“No, I’ve trained through this week,” Witt said. “We had a workout…I raced on Monday and then had a tempo run on Tuesday, so definitely haven’t tapered yet and I’m excited to get my legs back underneath me, fresh.”

He was joined on the all-conference first team by teammate Cole Hansen, who made a late pass of Osage’s Keagan Hennessey for 10th.

Hennessey said he was just glad he was able to earn first team all-conference.

“It means a lot,” Hennessey said. “I didn’t get it the last two years I ran. I really didn’t think I would get it this time, but I think I got it.

“Last time at conference I was one place away from getting first team all-conference. I’m pretty happy I got it this time. (The late passes) aren’t going to get me down. I’m just happy I got top 15.”

Winning the girls’ title was Osage’s Katelyn Johnston in 18:54, three minutes faster than her runner-up finish in 2020.

“It feels really good,” Johnston said of earning the top spot this time. “I was real disappointed when I didn’t get it last year and I knew I had to work harder so I could get it this year and my team has really encouraged me to push it. They really helped me.”

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