116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WELLMAN — Good was no longer good enough for Anna Hostetler.
'After my sophomore season of track, I told my dad that I was done with being pretty good,' said Hostetler, a senior at Mid-Prairie High School.
'I wanted to be really good.'
A commitment was made. An enhanced training strategy was forged.
And out of it came a transformed runner. The best current female distance runner in Iowa.
After Class 2A placings of sixth (freshman) and 14th (sophomore), Hostetler raced to a state cross country championship last season, and her time (17 minutes, 57 seconds) was the best in any class.
Anna and younger sister Marie ran 1-2 last year at Fort Dodge, with Marie crossing the line in 18:15.
'It was awesome coming over the hill and seeing her finishing,' Marie said. 'It helped me finish.'
Then, six months later, they followed that up with the same result in the Drake Relays 3,000-meter run. Running against the best in all classes, Anna won in 9:51.08, with Marie next in 9:56.73.
Similar success came at state track, with Anna and Marie running 1-2 in the 2A 3,000 and 1,500 and 1-5 in the 800. They were on a runner-up 3,200-meter relay team.
'It was a dream season in cross country,' Anna said. 'And track, that was exciting. I never would have guessed a year ago that we would have done that at Drake.'
'Good' was gone. In its place: 'Elite.'
All from a vision, and the determination to reach it.
'Anna just said she didn't want to be mediocre any more,' said Mark Hostetler, her father and her coach. 'So we stepped up her training with the idea of consistently improving a little each week.'
And Marie, she came along for the ride.
'When Anna started training hard, I went with her,' Marie said. 'She basically pushes me, and I just follow her.'
The Hostetlers are on pace to becoming the state's most dominant distance sister act since the Dinsdale twins of North Tama, about a decade ago.
'It's a testimony to our work,' Anna said.
The Hostetler girls aren't foreign to labor. The family lives on a 380-acre farm about 20 miles northwest of Wellman. There, they own a herd of about 400 dairy goats.
They're up early to milk goats. Then it's time to study (they are home-schooled by their mother), then train at Mid-Prairie.
They actually live in the Williamsburg school district, but open-enroll for athletics.
'I enjoy representing Mid-Prairie,' Anna said. 'It's awesome going to all the meets and seeing all the parents cheering for you.'
Mark ran collegiately, first at Danville (Ill.) Junior College, then at Illinois State University.
He coached at Iowa Mennonite from 1984 through 2000 — leading that school to a state title in boys' cross country in 1995 and one in boys' track and field in 1999 — before moving over to Mid-Prairie.
It's not as if the Hostetler girls are devoid of quality workout buddies at Mid-Prairie. The boys' team captured the 2A title last fall, and the top five runners return.
'Anna and Marie will get out and run with them. I don't think (the boys) like that too much,' Mark said.
The Hostetler girls have achieved elite status in Iowa. Mark envisions another jump.
'Anna talks about a 17-minute 5K,' Mark said. 'Physically, they're still pretty weak. They lift, but they don't lift a lot.
'Once they get stronger, they still have upside to their potential.'
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