Your Prep Sports
FORT DODGE – The Liberty High cross country program has had a lost of historic moments over the past four seasons.
Senior Aidan Decker has had a hand in most of those moments.
In the final race of his high school career Decker made history one final time on Friday.
Decker became the second individual medalist for Liberty High and posted the best state meet performance in program history placing ninth at the Class 4A state meet at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
“I am over the moon, I am ecstatic,” Decker said. “It’s exactly what I wanted to do when I came out here.”
The first four-time state qualifier at Liberty High, Decker has been one of the key contributors in leading Lightning to the most success stretch in program history.
Led by Decker’s top 10 finish Liberty High matched the best team finish in program history on Friday placing sixth with 183 points.
Liberty High was sixth in 2020 when Decker made his state meet debut as a freshman.
“It’s hard to describe how much he means to the program,” Liberty High coach Josh Hildebrand said. “We are lucky that he’s got another brother in the program and he comes from a great family.”
Freshman Keegan Decker, Aidan’s younger brother just missed a medal in his state meet debut placing 17th in at time of 15:54.8.
Aidan Decker was 24th at the state meet last season, the best performance of his career before Friday.
On Friday Decker used a strong close to secure his first state medal and join Peter Woodward as the individual state medalists for the Lightning.
Decker finished in 15:44 which was just behind Tommy Hensley of Urbandale who was eighth in 15:43.8.
“Every season you are faced with challenges, whether its at the beginning of the season or the end of the season and sometimes it’s mental barriers but the big difference for this season were the guys I was training around,” Decker said. “I had guys like my brother and other hard-working guys on the team every day to come out and work with.”
Decker helped Liberty High reach the state meet as a team three times during his prep career and finished in the top 42 as an individual in all four races at the state meet.
Friday was a fitting finish for Decker who was a program changer for the Lightning.
“It helps a lot to have Aidan, he pushes me during practice and over the summer he held me accountable and kept me consistent,” Keegan Decker said. “I look up to him as to where I really want to be. His mentality and the mindset that he has that’s what I look up to.”
The older Decker is one of only two seniors in a Liberty High lineup that is set u pto continue its success in the future.
Junior Noah Gregoire was 38th on Friday in a time of 16:15.7 and junior Jacob Madsen finished 52nd in 16:29.8.
“They have just believed in the system that we have,” Hildebrand said. “We always preach the ladder, the last guy is pushing the next person who is pushing the next person. We have our Bolt pack of four up at the top and then our next pack. They got out smart and then kept moving up throughout the race.”
West Des Moines claimed its third consecutive team title and fifth in the last six seasons finishing with 72 points, 12 in front of runner-up Cedar Falls.
Ankeny Centennial finished third with 102 points followed by Cedar Rapids Kennedy with 111, Waukee Northwest with 171 and Liberty High with 183.
West High was 16th with 375 points and was led by junior Moustafa Tiea who finished 47th in a time of 16:24.1.
“We wanted to finish in the top five as a team but coming up a few places short of it in the grand scheme of how many points there were its nothing to be ashamed of because I know how hard we worked,” Aidan Decker said. “At the end of the day we know that we came out here and raced our hardest and there is nothing to be mad about.”
State Cross Country Meet
At Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge
Team scores – 1. West Des Moines Dowling 72; 2. Cedar Falls 84; 3. Ankeny 102; 4. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 111; 5. Waukee Northwest 171; 6. Liberty High 183; 7. Dallas Center-Grimes 215; 8. Pleasant Valley 227; 9. Johnston 239; 10. Urbandale 239; 11. West Des Moines Valley 242; 12. Dubuque Hempstead 247; 13. Norwalk 250; 14. Ankeny Centennial 292; 15. Waukee 324; 16. West High 375
Individual leaders – 1. Ethan Zuber (Ankeny) 15:07.7; 2. Jaden Merrick (Cedar Falls) 15:13.4; 3. Natneal Kifle (Sioux City North) 15:25.6; 4. Jack Flori (West Des Moines Dowling) 15:33.8; 5. AJ Schermerhorn (Ankeny Centennial) 15:37.3; 6. Adam Gray (Cedar Rapids Kennedy) 15:39; 7. Owen Marett (Des Moines Roosevelt) 15:41.9; 8. Tommy Hensley (Urbandale) 15:43.8; 9. Aidan Decker (Liberty High) 15:44; 10. Joseph Lawry (Waukee) 15:44.6; 11. Jake Bosch (Ankeny) 15:44.7; 12. Max DeRocher (West Des Moines Dowling) 15:45; 13. Jacob Bruns (Cedar Rapids Kennedy) 15:46.9; 14. Noah Buhrow (Norwalk) 15:48.4; 15. Ahmed Aldamak (Cedar Falls) 15:54.1
Liberty High (183) – 9. Aidan Decker 15:44; 17. Keegan Decker 15:54.8; 35. Noah Gregoire 16:15.7; 52. Jacob Madsen 16:29.8; 93. William Thompson 17:00.7; 119. Hayden Johnsen 17:20.2; 123. Lars Hildebrand 17:27.9
West High (375) – 47. Moustafa Tiea 16:24.1; 81. Michael Lee 16:47.8; 85. Cade Benson 16:54.8; 107. Sam Showers 17:09.1; 115. Brice Wahe 17:13.5
City High – 60. Owyn Noble 16:34.7