FORT DODGE - Last year at the Iowa State Cross Country Meet Glenwood's Johnny Fuller placed 97th out of 121 runners.
This year, the junior place third.
Rams coach Todd Peverill thinks that’s an amazing turnaround this year at the Kennedy Park Golf Course in Fort Dodge, but finds it just as easy to throw out last year's performance by Fuller and his team.
“I don't even count last year. The whole team had food poisoning or whatever it was,” said Peverill, whose team placed 15th overall last year with most of the team suffering the flu-like symptoms before, during and after the race.
This year, Fuller, and the Rams were determined not to repeat last year.
Fuller, the two-time Hawkeye 10 Conference individual champion looked focused and relaxed from the start and never got further back than ninth. His kick at 800 meters passed three runners with a 16:00 time that was 25 seconds behind champion Brogan Austin of Boone and runner up Conner Smock of Mt. Vernon-Lisbon.
Pella was the team champion with 95 points followed by Boone with 109. The Rams placed seventh with 174 points . Just 20 points separated fifth and seventh places.
“I thought we could have had a few more under 17 (minutes) but with it being this soggy and (Jordan) Krug’s injury to his foot, we didn’t quite get there. It was a great race,” Peverill said.
For most of the season Fuller was ranked the No. 2 runner in the state behind defending champion Evan Selsor of Winterset. Selsor had a disappointing finish to a season he spent the majority of ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. It was the first time in Fuller's career he beat his fellow junior.
“He was way back a little bit. It was a little ironic but that's why you race it,” said Peverill. “The Boone guy (Austin) and Smock took it took him and I don't think Selsor was ready for that. At about a mile and a half out, I told Johnny to 'take em' and he did.”
Fuller is Glenwood's highest ever place winner at state cross country. The Rams previous highest place winner since going to the 5,000-meter race format in 1987 was a 19th place finish.
Placing 23rd for Glenwood was Mark Abrams with a time of 17:12. Mark Abrams, a sophomore followed up on his strong showing at the Hawkeye 10 meet with a 23rd place showing at state in a 17:12.
“Johnny ran great and Mark getting 23rd for the team for his state meet was great,” he said.
Juniors Kyle Wheeler and Krug placed 37th and 44th respectively. Krug cut his foot at the opening gun when stepped on by Fuller but still ran a 17:37.
“He was dead last after the first 100 meters but he came back and finished strong,” said Peverill.
Alex Neff rounded out the Ram place winners with a 67th place showing in 18:07.
The Rams lose just one senior from their top seven runners.
“But we have plenty of kids competing to replace him. It should be fun next year,” said Peverill.
Iowa State Cross Country Meet
Class 3A Team Results
1. Pella, 95. 2 Boone, 109. 3. Algona, 118. 4. Grinnell, 135. 5. Central Clinton-DeWitt, 144. 6. Decorah, 153. 7. Glenwood, 174. 8. Wahlert-Dubuque, 184. 9. Knoxville, 192. 10. LeMars, 153.
Glenwood Individual Results
3. Johnny Fuller, 16:00. 23. Mark Abrams, 17:12. 37. Kyle Wheeler, 17:24. 44. Jordan Krug, 17:37. 67. Alex Neff, 18:07. 81. Justin Sunderman, 18:33. 91. Jakob Rhodes.