CEDAR RAPIDS — Xavier junior Jack Renning is excited.
“I can finally eat Pop-Tarts again because qualifying is over,” he said after he and junior Hannah Denman qualified individually for the state cross country meet during district/regional races on Oct. 18 at Hart Ridge Golf Course in Manchester.
Denman finished 14h overall in a time of 20 minutes, 48. seconds Renning posted a time of 17:15, placing fifth overall.
Both will be making their state debuts.
“It felt great to finish and know I was going to get the chance to run at state,” Renning said. “It felt good to have a culmination of all the summer miles pay off. Most of the race I knew I was going to state, but you never know for sure until the very end.”
Preparation for Denman started last year.
“Preparing for this moment started the night after last year’s qualifying meet when I decided I was going to qualify,” Denman said. “The way it feels to qualify is indescribable. I still can’t get the picture out of my head.”
After the meet, both decided to celebrate by eating at Culver’s.
“I would not normally eat fast food, but I celebrated with a Pretzel Haus Pub Burger, fries and a soda,” Renning said.
Denman has not eaten unhealthy for six months.
“I decided to treat myself to the Salted Cashew Peanut Butter Custard and fries,” Denman said. “I can’t remember the last time I have ate fast food, so I savored every bite of it. It was a well earned meal.”
According to Denman, it was harder to qualify than it will be to run at state.
“Going into state this year I have no particular goals other than to get a feel for what kind of competition there is at the state level,” Denman said. “I am going to leave everything out on the course and finish the season strong.”
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Denman and Renning will compete at the state meet on Saturday at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.