Four Bulldog runners compete at state


Xavier Potts , Staff Writer

This past Saturday, Lakeside Golf Course, in Fort Dodge, hosted the 30th Iowa High School Cross Country State Championships. Bettendorf had four runners competing in the event with juniors Chase Wakefield and Emily See, sophomore Annabelle Everding and freshman AJ Willey.

For Wakefield, making the state meet has been no easy task. After barely missing the qualifying mark in 2020 and 2021, Wakefield broke through finishing fourth at the 2022 qualifier. Wakefield made it a goal to have this meet be all about enjoying the experience.

“I just wanted to come and have fun and enjoy myself; there wasn’t much on the line so I was just super excited to be here,” said Wakefield.

Tactically, it can be hard to keep to a strict race plan as the adrenaline is high and many runners start too quickly. Wakefield wanted to get more of a conservative start to the race and build up the pace, but he admitted that this did not end up happening.

Wakefield stated it was with the help of Willey that kept him from falling off of pace. 

“I could see AJ and I knew I wasn’t having the best race, but seeing him helped me push myself to catch up to him,” said Wakefield.

Wakefield turned in a time of 17:43 for 103rd place to end his junior campaign.

Willey, who was also running on an injured knee,  was the first freshman to qualify for the state meet under coach Dave Terronez. 

After the conference meet, Willey had resorted to wearing a knee brace for the district and state meets. This did not stop the impressive performances showcased by the freshman. 

“I wanted to run under 17 but I ended up somewhere around 17:20,” said Willey.

Similar to Wakefield, Willey’s race plan was to stay conservative throughout the first mile. The freshman also mentioned how Wakefield helped him stick to the race plan.

“At the start I was just chasing him, but then I wanted to be able to pick it up for the second and third miles,” said Willey.

Willey ended an impressive freshman season with an official time of 17:25 for 94th place.

Dowling Catholic took home the team title, scoring the second-lowest score recorded in state meet history with 51 points. Leading the team was state champion Jackson Heidesch who won his second state title with a record time of 14:56. 

Pleasant Valley’s Jacob Mumey was the top local finisher coming fourth with a time of 15:31.

At the beginning of the season, Terronez stated this could be the best team since he arrived at Bettendorf in the spring of 2014, and those expectations were certainly met as this year was the closest the team had been to qualifying for the state meet in eight years. Wakefield believes next season can be even better as the varsity only loses one senior.

“Next year we’re going to state as a team,” said Wakefield.

It was another first-time state appearance for Annabell Everding after placing 14th at the state qualifying meet.

Everding’s plan for the race was fairly simple: get out quick, make most of the passes in the second mile and then try to hang on for the final mile.

Everding made 20 passes in the second mile, but admitted that the final mile was tougher. 

“I’m a little disappointed with the finish, but it could have been worse. I’m not too worried about it; it’ll fuel the fire for next season,” Everding said.

Emily See was back for a third state meet after qualifying as both a freshman and sophomore. 

“The day  was all about enjoying the moment and all the accomplishments throughout the season,” said See.

While both Wakefield and Willey had a more conservative race plan, See stated she wanted to get out fast and hold on until the end. 

See did well maintaining a quick pace, and while many fell off, See was able to make 21 passes throughout the entire race. 

“Knowing it was my last race of my junior season really helped me kick it in and sprint at the end of the race,” said See.

In the girls race, Des Moines Roosevelt senior Adrienne Buettner-Cable took home the individual title with a time of 17:41 while Dubuque Hempstead ran away with the team trophy.

The girl’s team graduates no seniors from the varsity squad and See believes next season can be better than this year as the Bulldogs were without a strong number three runner, Kennah Block, for most of the season due to a broken toe.

“I think next season will be better; we’ll have more experience with Coach Deuth and we will bring everyone back,” said See.