Witt wins Class 1A 3,200-meter title

By Kristi Nixon

St. Ansgar’s Riley Witt smiles as he points skyward immediately after winning the Class 1A 3,200-meter title, the school’s first since 1970. EJ Photo/Kristi Nixon

DES MOINES — All the weight is off the shoulders of St. Ansgar’s Riley Witt.

Having just committed to Northwest Missouri State’s track and cross country programs, the senior distance runner for the Saints ran freely and claimed his first of what he is hoping is four state titles over the course of the weekend, this one coming in the 3,200 on Thursday, May 19 at Drake University Stadium.

“Part of me wanted to wait until after this weekend was done and announce it right as I finished the 1,600,” Witt said. “But, I thought, ‘eh, it’s a lot of stress.’ No, I’m going to get it off my chest now and get that over with and focus on this race and not think about colleges because that was a nightmare.

“The whole decision was pretty stressful. I had a bunch of opportunities to go a lot of places, but I narrowed it down to (Iowa State) those two programs. One of them was willing to give me the care and the appreciation. I didn’t want to go there and be a dog, I wanted to got there and be a dawg. They have good facilities and good athletes.”

He became the first St. Ansgar champion in the event since 1970.

“I didn’t even know that until now,” Witt said of the history. “I did ask (coach Drew) Clev(enger) how many state champs have gone through this facility and it was like five and I said, ‘okay, let me see if I can nearly double that this weekend.’ I would love to make that a possibility. And I’m on my way.”

Witt crossed the finish line in 9 minutes, 43.95 seconds, a new personal record and yet another school record.

“I’ve been thinking of that moment for eight months now, probably four years,” Witt said. “Actually doing it is way better than doing it in your head. I feel good, good way to start the weekend and I’m ready for more.”

An updated version of this story will appear in the May 25 print edition of the Enterprise Journal

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