Bismarck cross country runner Sean Korsmo has this social distancing stuff all figured out.
Any doubts, just look at the results of Saturday’s Anderson-Stavn cross country meet at McDowell Dam in Bismarck.
Running in the first of two groups of four teams to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, Korsmo ran all alone most of the day, finishing in a time of 15:28.19. His nearest challenger was teammate Juan Flores, whose 16:40.66 was more than a minute behind the winner.
“Time doesn’t matter to me too much. I know I need to be getting better each week,” Korsmo said. “I was just trying to break last week’s PR of 15:31, which I did. I was running for it, I was running myself into the ground. My legs are tired."
Korsmo has been his toughest competition as he seeks to regain the state title he had in 2018 but lost last season to Dickinson’s Brady Yoder.
Given the pandemic protocols, Korsmo hasn’t been able to line up against many of the runners who could push him to the finish line. Jamestown’s Ben Anteau was the fastest runner in group two. His 15:47.00 was 19 seconds behind Korsmo.
“It’s all about pushing yourself,” Korsmo said. “I like running against other dudes, but if I’m running alone I’m going to try running as hard as I ever have before.”
“He needs the competition to probably learn how to handle the crowds. That’s more of a mental thing than physical,” Bismarck boys’ coach Darrell Anderson said. “When he doesn’t have the competition, he’s focused on getting to the points in the race he needs to be. All great runners need that competition so they focus the whole time.”
Anderson said the amazing thing about Korsmo’s run was that his final mile was faster than his first in the 3.1-mile run.
“He’s getting freaky good,” Anderson said. “He’s still climbing the ladder (of all-time greats).”
The obvious choice for strongest boys’ team was Century. Running in the second group, the Patriots placed seven runners in the top 12. Overall, five Century runners placed in the top 13 for what would have been a 36-point total.
Mason Kindel was the Patriots’ top runner, placing third overall in a time of 15:52.73. Griffin House (16:22.93) was fifth, Jasob Ersland (16:25.09) sixth, Ethan Bender (16:49.47) ninth and Iver Phillips (16:54.93) 13th.
“I’d say it was a good day. We’re still training hard and not cutting back at all,” Century coach Brad Leis said. “Our big challenge this week was getting a five closer to our front guys and Iver Phillips stepped up to the plate and broke 17 (minutes) for the first time in his career.”
Bismarck High posted a 57. Jamestown had three runners -- Anteau, Gavin Hust (fourth in 16:00.84) and Chandlar Rott (seventh in 16:40.01) place in the top 10, but not enough depth to challenge the Patriots.
In the girls’ division, Williston totaled 31 points to win the second race and Bismarck also scored 31 in the first race.
Watford City, led by Hayley Ogle (third in 19:10.95) and Jaelyn Ogle (fourth in 19:21.08) had 41 points in group two. Williston was ranked second to Bismarck in the latest state poll.
Williston’s Eleni Lovgren, ranked fourth in the latest poll, held off Minot’s Trinity Jessen down the stretch, posting an 18:43.39 to win by just under five seconds. Top-ranked Meghan Ford did not run in the event. The Blue Jays’ top placer was eighth-grader Julia Skari, who finished 12th.
Jilee Golus was the Demons’ top runner after taking sixth in a time of 19:49.54.