BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT DODGE – Making the state Class 1A boys cross country meet wasn’t on Mitchell Pothitakis’ radar at the beginning of the season.
He ran cross country for the social benefits.
At the end of Saturday’s Class 1A boys state cross country meet Pothitakis ended up just about where he thought he would after a nice kick over the last 400 meters to take 105th place out of 152 runners with a time of 19:14.1
As with others who have run their first time at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Kennedy Park north of Fort Dodge, Pothitakis was overwhelmed with the speed off the gun.
“I’m not used to that all,” Pothitakis said. “There are so many fast guys out there, I immediately fell to the back of the pack. I was probably in the last 10.
But over the first half of the 3-mile run, Pothitakis raced past more than 30 runners to settle in the top 100 where he moved back and forth over the final half of the race.
At the 1.5 mile mark Pothitakis started making a move to a group of about 25 runners bunched up on a turn to the northwest. He stayed there across the golf course back as the runners moved back to the southeast corner, and final turn to the last quarter mile to the finish line.
Coming down the hill off the turn, Pothitakis came close to a sprint and picked off a couple runners as he moved between the orange fencing to the timekeeper.
Pothitakis said he didn’t have a strategy different than other meets – just have fun.
“I’m just glad I got the opportunity to be here,” the Crusader said. “I knew I wouldn’t do unbelievable, so I just decided to have some fun with it.
“I didn’t have too much of a strategy, I just wanted to get out and enjoy the race.”
Bellevue senior Brady Griebel won the event at 15:52.2.
Wapello’s Tristan Kaufman was 51 at 18:03.7. Mediapolis freshman Soloman Zuagg was 66th at 18:19.9 to highlight area runners.