Coach Jamie Quass’ voice raised above the others at the finish line at Mason City Tuesday as New Hampton senior Jared Aegerter picked up the pace and raised his arms to the sky at the end of the first race of the season.
Did Aegerter pick up the pace because he heard the voice of encouragement?
“I’m pretty sure it was because he saw his time, but we could go with that,” said Quass.
Turns out she knows her runners pretty well. “It was because I saw my time,” said Aegerter later.
It wasn’t the only good time the Chickasaws put up on the day. Olivia Burke expected to finish with a mark around 24 minutes in the first meet of the season and she finished in 22:06 to lead New Hampton’s varsity girls in eighth place among the 87 runners.
“I practiced a lot more over the summer, that helped,” she said of the finish, which cut over a minute off her 33rd place from a year ago.
Newcomer Sadie Tenge also finished under 23 minutes with a 15th place time of 22:54, while Hannah Heit was 19th and Lydia Gessner was 24th.
“I get a little nervous with them, because I don’t want to get beat, but I know having that competition pushes me,” Burke said. “Our whole team finished at 26 or under, that’s pretty good.”
Celena Quirk counted at 48th place and the varsity was rounded out by Taylor Perkins in 59th place and Riley Shatek in 66th.
Burke’s time was just over a half-minute away from her personal record, but Gessner, a sophomore, set a new PR in the meet by 12 seconds.
Nolan Usher also finished in eighth place in a field of 86 boys and his time too was about a half-minute off his career best. Hunter Carey came in 62nd — just four seconds off his PR — while Aegerter was 74th and Brennen Nullan, Jerod Westemeier and Ashton McShane were 80th, 81st and 82nd.
With only six boys on the roster to run at Mason City, Quass opted to run them all on varsity.
All the New Hampton results from the meet may be found in the Aug. 1 Tribune.