Schulte places at regional; advances to National Championship

Schulte+places+at+regional%3B+advances+to+National+Championship

Josh Ripley

 [heading]Senior’s XC season not over; will run for national title[/heading]

Senior Evan Schulte runs in a October cross country meet. Schulte will run in the National Championship in December.
Senior Evan Schulte runs in a October cross country meet. Schulte will run in the National Championship in December. Photo by Marissa Soumikil

After the boys cross country team’s season ended last week at the state championships, senior Evan Schulte decided his wasn’t quite done yet.  Despite a 2nd place team finish and a fourth place showing individually, Schulte felt he needed redemption.  He knew he hadn’t run his best and should have placed higher.  He wanted a do-over.

Today at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional in Terre Haute, Indiana, Schulte redeemed himself.  Running in 9th place in the boys championship race with 200 meters to go, Schulte dug deep and kicked past five runners to cross the finish line in fourth place, and secure one of the five qualifying spots to the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Portland, Oregon.

“It was crazy,” said Schulte of the finish.  “I was 9th going into the last curve and I told myself I was just going to throw down for my last cross country race, and somehow everyone else started to fade.”

Schulte was the top finisher from Missouri, Stephen Mugeche of Blue Springs, and Noah Kauppila of Marquette, two runners who had beaten him at State finished 12th and 14th respectively.  Kauppila was in 4th place in the homestretch but faded and was one of the runners passed by Schulte.

The race was affected by 40 mph winds and a light rain that had made the course a muddy mess.  Schulte said the weather affected his race strategy.

“The weather made things a lot more tactical,” Schulte said.  “Lots of drafting and I made the moves with the wind at my back except in the final stretch where it was just battle the headwinds.”

Being one of the top five finishers Schulte automatically qualified for the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Portland, Oregon Dec. 7.  Schulte said qualifying for nationals was a dream come true.

“The feeling right now is indescribable.  It’s been my dream to make it to Oregon and after last weekend I just wanted a chance to redeem myself, and going out on top makes it even better.”
By Josh Ripley