Two-time state qualifier kicks off final year of cross country
BY PCC STAFF
IOWA CITY – Holy Trinity Catholic’s Matthew Hellige started the season on a brisk note with a third-place finish at a roley-poley HIllcrest Academy Early Bird run on a roley-poley Iowa City Regina course Tuesday night.
It was the first cross country run of the year for the Crusaders, who finished sixth in team scoring.
Hellige ran the three-loop 5K in 18:26.95 just 3.5 seconds behind Iowa City High’s Evan McElroy and 25.6 seconds off a the quick pace of Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Lukas Lamparek, who almost broke the 18-minute barrier at 18:01.32.
Hellige said he was pleased with the first official run of the year.
“I think it was a really good course to start the year,” Hellige said. “This was probably one of the hilliest courses I’ve been on, but the running conditions were really good.”
Hellige finished 9 seconds in front of Wapello senior Aiden Housman, who was ranked 21st in the initial Iowa Association of Track Coaches top 30 Class 1A runners. Housman took 4th place at the run.
HTC Head Coach Matt Mohrfeld said the Crusaders performed strong in their first outing.
“The team looked good on a hard course especially for the first race of the season,” he said. “Matt Hellige’s dedicated off season work paid off with a very strong-third place finish.”
Jacob Mohrfeld was the second Crusader across the line with a time of 22:03.50 for enough for 26th place overall, followed by Mitchel Pothitakis at 22:32.37 (30th).
Team scoring is calculated by taking the finishing positions of the top five runners at each school and the Crusaders finished with 137 points. Others figuring in on the scoring included James Scheetz at 24:07.35 (37) and freshman Jacob Pothitakis at 24:39.42 (41).
Other runners competing were Chandler Rung 24:53.98 (41), and Wyatt Hellman 28:34.59 (46).
Hellige, a two-time state cross country qualifier in Class 1A has finishes of 90th and 58th in his sophomore and junior years running at Fort Dodge’s Lakeside Municipal Golf Course at Kennedy Park.
He said he’s upped the number of weekly miles he’s running to about 45 per week and said he’s goal this year is to just let it go and place higher at state.
“We ran every day this summer. I probably got in close to 45 miles per week, which I think is an increase in my mileage this year to last year. I really just want to place high at state and do my best,” he said.
“But it’s really fun getting out and competing again and I”m excited for my senior year and my last couple meets. It’s kind of sad almost, but it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”