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Kraft wins 1600-meter run title

(Claire Meador/Republic) Wessington Spring's Jase Kraft competes in the 1600-meter race at the Class B state track tournament Saturday in Rapid City.

RAPID CITY-- After his final individual race on Saturday, Wessington's Springs Jase Kraft was speechless.

Kraft, who won the 3200-meter run on Friday with a time of 9 minutes, 45.15 seconds, took home another first-place finish in the 1600 run on Saturday at the Class B state track meet in Rapid City. He finished with a time of 4:31.58

"It's amazing, really," Kraft said.

"I wouldn't even be here, though, if it wasn't for God and all His motivation all year... I can't even put it to words it's so cool."

Last year at the state meet Kraft took second place in the 1600 run with a time of 4:30.11 and he took second place in the 3200 run with a time of 9:55.78. This year's 3200 run was 10 seconds faster than last year's performance.

Once again, Kraft edged out Parker's Duane Jongeling by about six seconds to nab the first place spot. He said that running alongside Jongeling really gives him motivation and pushes him to do better each race.

"Ever since my eighth-grade year we've been either fourth and fifth or first and second and we finish right together all the time. I love running with him he's so competitive," Kraft said.

"I had a little motivation coming in from (Friday) and I just kept it going and kept loose and it went well."

Kraft is only a sophomore and said he's looking forward to another two years on the Wessington Springs track team. He said even though he won both his individual events over the weekend, there's always room for improvement and there are always things he can work on to be a better runner. He said his main goal is just to become a better runner every race.

"There are always records to be broken," he said.

"I want to come back and do the same thing next year, too, so it's going to be really competitive."

Kraft also won the boys' Class B most valuable player award which was presented to him at the conclusion of the track meet on Saturday. He was awarded for winning the 3200 race; the 1600 race and helping two relay teams to top- three finishes. The 4x800-meter relay came in third place with a time of 8:37.73. Kraft, Braden Jones, Terrek Butterfield and Owen Witte ran that relay. The 1600 sprint medley also came in third place with a time of 3:44.95. Bailey Willman, Butterfield, Jones and Kraft made up the relay.