PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Disappointment drives Shafer
Disappointments of the past have turned into incentive for Paul Shafer. The Grand Forks Central senior ran under 17 minutes for the fourth consecutive race Saturday, winning the boys division of the Grand Forks Invitational cross country meet. Sh...
Disappointments of the past have turned into incentive for Paul Shafer.
The Grand Forks Central senior ran under 17 minutes for the fourth consecutive race Saturday, winning the boys division of the Grand Forks Invitational cross country meet.
Shafer isn't new to sub-17 minute races. He achieved that in four straight races last season leading up to the North Dakota Class A state meet. At state, however, Schafer finished 23rd with a time of 17 minutes, 35.1 seconds.
"That's definitely been incentive for me,'' Shafer said. "I've done well in meets in the season and at the conference (finishing second in the Eastern Dakota Conference last season). But state was a disappointment. I had a bad race.''
Shafer said he's done some things differently this season. He delayed his offseason workouts by a few weeks to avoid peaking too early. "Now I've trained more. And I've worked on my mental game, doing my own thing. I did that today.''
Shafer finished with a 16:53.08 to West Fargo runner-up Darin Baltezore's 17:05.58. In the windy conditions at Lincoln Park Golf Course, Shafer ran with a plan.
"We were crawling the first half of the race,'' he said. "It was a tough wind, so it was a battle to not be in front. We all wanted a wind break in front of us. The race really didn't start until the last mile. That's perfect for me. I'm primarily an 800 and mile runner.''
Over the final 1,000 meters, Central coach Sean Allan estimated Shafer picked up 12 seconds on the pack. Shafer was looking over his shoulder at the finish line to check out the other runners, with whom he'd been matching strides much of the race.
Last year's state meet "definitely has motivated Paul,'' Allan said. "He's learned from things he did wrong. Today waited until the last 1,000 meters, then really went to work. He might not have been that patient in the past.''
West Fargo won the boys' division with a 44 to runner-up Central's 50. West Fargo won with quality depth, as it had three runners - Baltezore, Griffin Sauvageau (fifth) and Austin Albrecht (sixth) - between Shafer and the second Knight, Tom Fisher (seventh).
"That's the first time West Fargo has beaten us,'' Allan said. "It's always disappointing to lose. We ran a great race. They had a better one.''
Red River, led by Matt Tingum's eighth-place finish, placed fourth at 115.
In the girls division, Fargo Shanley-Oak Grove's Alexandra Backlund ran a 16:10.75 to win, followed by Devils Lake's Christa Lysne (16:14.91).
West Fargo won the team title at 27, with Shanley-Oak Grove (85) second. Red River placed third with a 115 and Central was fifth at 118. Ashley Rone placed 12th to lead Red River, while Grace Roehl (15th) led Central.