Your Prep Sports
MONTICELLO – Brandon Barker did plenty to prepare for Wednesday’s Class 3A state qualifying meet in the days following the WAMAC Conference championships last week.
The most important thing Barker did during that stretch was listen.
“Three different people in three different scenarios told me last week that I focused too much on the CPU guys and it ended up killing my race,” Barker said. “They told me just run your race.”
After listening to feedback Barker admitted he was preoccupied with the pace set by the Center Point-Urbana duo of Eli Larson and Luke Post in a sixth-place finish at the WAMAC meet last Thursday.
Barker took that advice and ran with it on Wednesday, literally.
The Clear Creek Amana senior cruised to the individual title at the 3A state qualifier at Monticello High School on a rainy Wednesday evening.
“Three different people told me that on three separate occasions to just run my won race,” Barker said. “So that’s exactly what I did and it worked out for me.”
A sixth-place finish at a loaded WAMAC meet was hardly a reason for disappointment but it was slightly out of context in what has been a brilliant senior season for Barker.
He looked at the WAMAC meet as a learning experience and showed Wednesday he learned plenty at the conference meet.
Barker won the individual title in 16:17.7, more than 10 seconds in front of runner-up Lance Sobaski of Washington.
“One of the things I am most proud of is our kids become students of the sport and they really invest themselves in it and learning how to run,” Clear Creek Amana coach Ben Robison said. “They do a great job in and out of that.”
The win was a confidence boost for Barker who will be seeking a second state medal at the Class 3A state meet on October 30 at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
Barker was 13th at the 3A state meet last season.
“It definitely feels good,” Barker said. “It’s a confidence booster after last week I thought ‘oh no what if I’m just like that now’ but to be able to get back out here and do a lot better is really big.”
Clear Creek Amana junior Gavin Zillyette ran next to Barker for the first mile and finished third in a time of 16:38.5 holding off a late charge from Dubuque Wahlert senior Nathan Munshower.
“Going into the last half to a quarter I knew I had a pretty good lead but as I came over the last hill I could kind of hear people talking and decided to take a little peak back and when I looked back he was coming right up on my shoulder,” Zillyette said. “I did everything I could to try to maintain that distance and finish that out.”
Zillyette, who was 34th at the state meet last season as a sophomore, expects to contend for a state medal along with Barker in Fort Dodge.
“Brandon and Gavin both ran great, my goodness,” Robison said. “I couldn’t ask any more out of them.”
Behind Barker and Zillyette the Clippers finished fourth in the team standings with 90 points, missing a fifth consecutive state meet appearance by five points.
Solon won the team title with 48 points while West Delaware was runner-up with 77 and Dubuque Wahlert was third with 85.
Barker and Zillyette will be joined at state by Barker’s younger sister Haidyn who punched her ticket to the state meet with a third-place finish in the girls race.
Barker, who was runner-up at the WAMAC meet last week, finished third behind the Dubuque Wahlert duo of Gabby Moran and Alix Oliver in a time of 19:13.8.
Class 3A State Qualifier
At Monticello High School
Team scores – 1. Solon 48; 2. West Delaware 77; 3. Dubuque Wahlert 85; 4. Clear Creek Amana 90; 5. Monticello 97; 6. Davenport Assumption 130; 7. Cedar Rapids Xavier 207; 8. Washington 207; 9. Mount Pleasant 234; 10. Central DeWitt 273; 11. Maquoketa 333
Individual leaders – 1. Brandon Barker (CCA) 16:17.7; 2. Lance Sobaski (WAS) 16:27.9; 3. Gavin Zillyette (CCA) 16:38.5; 4. Nathan Munshower (DW) 16:38.6; 5. Gabe Hinman (SOL) 16:43.9; 6. Cael Meyer (WD) 16:48.6; 7. Carter Hancock (DW) 16:48.9; 8. Tyler Bilskie (SOL) 16:49.6; 9. TJ Fitzpatrick (DA) 16:51.2; 10. Brick Kabela (SOL) 16:52; 11. Blake Smith (WD) 16:58.7; 12. Michael Yeomans (SOL) 17:03.2; 13. Ben DeValk (SOL) 17:04.3; 14. Tyger Vaske (WD) 17:05.1; 15. Carter Kurt (MON) 17:10
Solon (48) – 5. Gabe Hinman 16:43.9; 8. Tyler Bilskie 16:49.6; 10. Brick Kabela 16:52; 12. Michael Yeomans 17:03.2; 13. Ben DeValk 17:04.3; 34. Noelan Garbes 18:04.4; 36. Nate Ferguson 18:08.6
Clear Creek Amana (90) – 1. Brandon Barker 16:17.7; 3. Gavin Zillyette 16:38.5; 21. Noah Yost 17:24.6; 25. Peyton Stadler 17:35.6; 40. Jackson Schloss 18:14.2; 42. Tanner Tomas 18:19.2; 59. Cameron Kimm 18:56.4