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Schuldt caps off career with state title

Bryon Schuldt capped off his high school cross-country career by winning the state Class A title Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

After placing 12th in his state Class A cross-country debut in 2008, Nevis head coach Tom Stambaugh predicted Bryon Schuldt would be a state champion some day.

That day came Saturday when Schuldt won the state Class A title in his final state appearance.

Schuldt covered the 5,000-meter course at St. Olaf College in Northfield in 15 minutes, 55 seconds to edge the runner-up time of 15:59 by Blake senior Brandon Clark, who entered the state meet as the favorite to win the state title. Schuldt, who qualified for his fourth state meet by winning his third straight Section 8A title, was rated No. 7 entering state.

Following the two leaders were Foley junior Charlie Lawrence in 16:09, Canby junior Nick Stoks in 16:13, Waseca freshman Shane Streich in 16:15, Royalton senior Daniel Borash in 16:17, Sauk Centre senior Jacob Gerhartz in 16:19, St. Cloud Cathedral sophomore Nick Golebiowski in 16:27, Esko senior Jackson Lindquist in 16:32 and Proctor senior Romeo Benish in 16:33.

Five of those - Lawrence at No. 2, Streich at No. 3, Benish at No. 4, Stoks at No. 6 and Golebiowski at No. 8 -were rated among the top 10 runners in the final state poll.

Schuldt, who missed two weeks before the section meet with tendonitis in his knee, was in 34th place at the first mile with a time of 5:04. Clark, Lawrence, Stoks and Streich led the pack with a time of 4:55. Schuldt caught up to the pack at the two-mile mark before taking the lead down the stretch.

"I knew I had a chance, but I wasn't expecting to win it," said Schuldt, who earned his fourth straight all-state honors after placing 12th in 16:41 in 2008, 12th in 16:54 in 2009 and sixth in 16:10 last year. "I wanted to run a sub-16:00. If I did that, whatever place I got I'd be happy with. I didn't want to get caught up with how fast everyone went out. I just wanted to run my race. After the first mile I knew I'd be under 16:00. I was right where I wanted to be. After I caught the leaders, I was really confident I could win it."

"I was a bit surprised that Bryon could beat Clark after missing two weeks. Clark is one of the best runners to come out of Minnesota over the last few years. Before the injury I felt Bryon could beat him. I did tell him Friday night that he was the only one that could beat Clark," said Stambaugh. "Bryon ran the perfect race. We wanted him at 5:05 at the mile and that's where he was. He caught the lead pack at two miles and waited to get in the woods, which was out of the wind. At 2 ¼ miles he took off and Clark could not respond. (Being a state champion) is an honor that he will always remember. Bryon is a once-in-a-lifetime runner to come through Nevis. He has represented our school and community at a very high level, both athletically and academically. To see him cross the finish line with the Nevis singlet on was quite a sight."

"It feels great," said Schuldt, who plans on running in college next year. "I'm ecstatic with how I ran. I feel that I ran a great race."