Prep Sports

City High's Iris Wedemeyer finds joy on the run

HS journalism: Little Hawk freshman showed improvement in first season

Iris Wedemeyer, City High freshman runner. (The Little Hawk)
Iris Wedemeyer, City High freshman runner. (The Little Hawk)

IOWA CITY — Everyone has one thing that helps them function, that brings meaning to their life, something they just can’t live without it.

For City High freshman Iris Wedemeyer, that one thing is running.

“I feel like if I didn’t run, I would not be OK,” Wedemeyer said. “It keeps me sane.”

Wedemeyer participated in triathlons when she was little and ran on her own before participating in cross country at South East. Her success at elementary track meets sparked her interest in running.

“It makes me feel good to have something that I’m good at,” Wedemeyer said. “(Running has taught me) that my body is strong, and it can do a lot.”

Over the summer, she ran with many of the girls on the Little Hawk team and really appreciated the team atmosphere.

“It was easy, over the summer, to get to know people and make friends in cross country,” she said. “I don’t mean that I wasn’t expecting to make friends, but I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy.”

Wedemeyer was a consistent No. 3 runner on the cross country team. She started the season with a 5K time of 22:03 at an early-bird invitational on Sept. 3 but showed rapid improvement. She ran a 19:47 at the Mississippi Valley Conference meet on Oct. 17.

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“She’s just a pleasure to coach,” Coach Ryan Ahlers said. “She asks good questions and she wants to learn about the sport. She just works so hard, and she’s fast because of it.”

One of the biggest differences between junior high and high school cross country for Wedemeyer was the number of meets throughout the season. This gave her more racing experience.

“I’ve been sort of learning about (mental preparation) as I’m going along,” Wedemeyer said. “I don’t really have a set thing that I do (before races). I tell myself that I prepared for this, that it is temporary, and that I’m just going to do my best.”

At the regional meet, Wedemeyer ran a time of 20:18 and placed sixth, making the all-regional team. The girls cross country team placed second overall, qualifying for state.

“She knows that she wants to be as good as she possibly can be,” Ahlers said. “And ultimately, she knows that the better she is, the better the team will be.

“I can certainly see her being somebody that’s contending for a really high, high honor, in terms of running.”

Wedemeyer placed 42nd at state with a personal record of 19:43. She will try to continue training all year and watch over her health by getting enough sleep, eating good food and showing up to practice every day.

“I want to keep getting better, keep training consistently, and stay healthy,” Wedemeyer said. “Just keep going strong with the team and pushing myself.”

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Editor’s note: First in a four-part series looking at top freshman at Iowa City by Little Hawk sports editor Julianne Berry-Stoelzle.

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