Schuldt, Lutz seek medals at state meet
Park Rapids' Lydia Lutz and Nevis' Bryon Schuldt weren't surprised when they qualified for the state Class A cross-country meet. After finishing among the leaders at every meet this fall, Lutz and Schuldt expected to finish among the top-10 runne...
Park Rapids' Lydia Lutz and Nevis' Bryon Schuldt weren't surprised when they qualified for the state Class A cross-country meet.
After finishing among the leaders at every meet this fall, Lutz and Schuldt expected to finish among the top-10 runners at last Friday's Section 8A meet at Park Rapids' Headwaters Country Club.
Both delivered as Lutz finished second in the girls' 4,000-meter race with a time of 15 minutes, 23 seconds while Schuldt finished third in the boys' 5,000-meter race with a time of 17:07 despite running in cold and rainy conditions.
The two freshmen will be seeking to earn all-state honors by finishing in the top 25 and contend for a medal by placing in the top 8 today (Saturday) at the state Class A meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Lutz returns to state meet
Lutz continues to be a regular at state in the distance running events.
As a seventh-grader in 2007, Lutz qualified for the state track and field meet in the 3,200 run and finished 14th.
During her eighth-grade year, Lutz qualified for two more state meets.
In the fall of 2007, Lutz advanced to the state cross-country meet by placing fifth at the Section 8A meet and just missed earning all-state honors by placing 30th at state.
Last spring, Lutz returned to the state Class A track and field meet by winning the Section 8A title in the 3,200 run and earned a medal by placing ninth in that event.
Going into this season, Lutz was confident of keeping that streak going by returning to state in cross country.
Lutz began the season by placing seventh at the Moorhead Invitational. That would be her lowest finish all season.
The Park Rapids freshman followed by finishing fourth at the Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational and posted back-to-back winning efforts at the Pelican Rapids Invitational and Bagley/Fosston Invitational. After placing third at the Fergus Falls Invitational and fifth at the Swain Invitational in Duluth, Lutz repeated as an all-conference runner by placing second at the Mid-State Conference meet.
Going into the section meet, Lutz expected Staples-Motley's Naomi Landecker and Perham's Maddie McClellan to lead the pack. Landecker was rated No. 2 and McClellan was rated No. 3 in the state entering the section meet.
"I like running in the rain. It was freezing when we started, but I warmed up," said Lutz. "I wanted to go out there and run a smart race and keep up with Maddie."
Lutz was in third place behind Landecker and McClellan at the halfway mark before passing McClellan down the stretch. Landecker led the field with a time of 15:05 while Lutz finished 15 seconds ahead of her best time. McClellan finished third in 15:27. Pelican Rapids' Emily Bakken was fourth in 15:31, Staples-Motley's Emma Pogreba was fifth in 15:37 and Perham's Abby Anderson was sixth in 15:40.
"I had placed in the top 10 in every meet, so I was pretty sure I'd make it to state. I just wasn't sure what place I'd get," said Lutz. "I didn't think I'd beat Maddie. I started to speed up at the end and passed her and she didn't come with me. When I was coming up on the finish line and saw my time, I was surprised. I knew I was going faster than usual, but I didn't think I was running that fast."
Lutz is looking to duplicate that pace and improve on her showing at last year's state meet. Receiving a medal from Park Rapids activities director John Schumacher, who is giving out medals at the state meet, would be the perfect way to cap off her second trip to Northfield.
"Lydia will have her work cut out for her at state, but I know she can run with the best because she has proven that she belongs right up there with the best," said Park Rapids head coach Kerry Johnson. "If Lydia pushes herself like she did at sections, Schu just might be putting a medal around her neck."
"At state you can't start out in the back. I'm going to stick with Maddie and stay with the leaders the whole time," said Lutz. "I'm just going to go out there and do my best and hopefully get all-state. I'd like to finish in the top 8. Getting a medal would be amazing."
Schuldt continues good year
It continues to be a memorable year for Schuldt.
Last June, Schuldt earned his second trip to the state Class A track and field meet and brought home a medal by placing seventh in the 3,200-meter run.
In July, Schuldt was invited to compete in the Down Under Games in Australia. Schuldt was a member of Team Minnesota and finished third in the 3,200 run, fifth in the 800 run and seventh in the 1,500 run in his age division.
This fall, Nevis started a cross-country program for the first time. Schuldt, who became the first Nevis runner to qualify for state in track, took advantage of the opportunity to become the first Nevis runner to qualify for state in cross country.
Schuldt set the tone for the season by placing fifth at the Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational in his first cross-country meet. The Nevis freshman followed by finishing second at the Bagley/Fosston Invitational, fifth at the Milaca Invitational and first at the United North Central Invitational at Blueberry Pines.
Entering his first section meet, Schuldt was looking to run with Warroad's Moses Heppner and the top runners for Perham and Staples-Motley. Heppner is rated No. 9 in the latest state Class A poll while Perham is rated No. 4 as a team.
Schuldt stuck to his game plan in the rainy conditions by keeping Heppner in his sights. Heppner won the section title in 16:42 and Staples-Motley's Jordan Bendson was second in 16:56. Schuldt followed with his best time to finish ahead of Perham's Sam Stoll (17:13), Staples-Motley's Gunner Johnson (17:19), and Perham's Keith Schornack (17:21), Alex Barney (17:29) and Klaus Weber (17:32).
"I felt pretty confident that I would be able to go to state, but you never know how you're going to perform that day," said Schuldt. "My strategy was basically to not go out too fast but at the same time not to let myself get too far behind. I felt that I could keep up with Moses and the Perham and Staples guys. As far as the weather went, I don't really think it affected me mentally, but it did make the course a little slower and harder to run on. For the most part it really didn't affect me seeing that I ran my fastest time yet."
Schuldt is looking to cap off his first trip to the state cross-country meet with his first state cross-country medal.
"I'm just hoping to drop my time down and ultimately I would like to get a medal or at least get in the top 25," said Schuldt.
"If things go well, Bryon can place high at the state meet," said Nevis coach Tom Stambaugh. "I don't like to put a lot of pressure on him because he is only a ninth-grader. I want him to go out and have fun and run a hard race. It wouldn't surprise me to see him in the top 25. You won't see many, if any, ninth-graders make all-state, but Bryon has a chance."