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Haggerty, Schroeder lead Bobcats in distance races at state

FREEMAN -- The Freeman Academy High School boys track team has its niche: the longer the race, the better. And they have two of the top area distance runners competing this weekend's Class B boys state track meet in Sioux Falls. Freeman Academy h...

Freeman Academy's Thaniel Schroeder, left, and Ryan Haggerty, right, make their move on the final lap of the boys' 1,600-meter race May 19 at the Region 5B track meet in Scotland. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)
Freeman Academy's Thaniel Schroeder, left, and Ryan Haggerty, right, make their move on the final lap of the boys' 1,600-meter race May 19 at the Region 5B track meet in Scotland. (Marcus Traxler/Republic)

FREEMAN - The Freeman Academy High School boys track team has its niche: the longer the race, the better.

And they have two of the top area distance runners competing this weekend's Class B boys state track meet in Sioux Falls.

Freeman Academy has six entries in the boys state meet and all of them are in the distance races. The Bobcats are led by senior Ryan Haggerty, who is a contender for a top finish in the 1,600-meter race, while freshman Thaniel Schroeder should be in contention for the podium on the 3,200-meter side.

The pair each has its own strengths and are constantly pushing each other to be better.

"They're always racing each other," said Freeman Academy assistant coach and Ryan's father, Dan Haggerty. "In practices, those two run together a lot. They have for cross country and in track and they push each other very well."

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When it comes to strategy, the two runners don't have to say a word on the track. For example, in the Region 5B 1,600-meter run on May 19, Haggerty and Schroeder were in second and third place with 400 meters to go when both runners simultaneously moved to the front and commanded control of the race. Haggerty won the race, with Schroeder coming in second.

"When Thaniel makes his kick, I go with him," Ryan said. "Sometimes it's as simple as that but that's a case of knowing your teammate as well."

Ryan Haggerty is typically better in the 1,600-meter race, Dan said, because he's the older, more physically mature runner, while Schroeder is better in the 3,200-meter race, where his "long, lopey stride" can take over.

"Ryan's usually the leader and that's only natural," Dan said. "He's the senior and Thaniel is only a freshman. Thaniel uses Ryan a lot and success builds success. When you get kids looking up to older kids, that only helps."

Dan Haggerty said he's confident that both runners will perform well on the state stage, in part because they've been doing it throughout the season."

"They've been consistent. It hasn't been a case of one strong race to qualify for state," he said. "We know they can run a good race. Can they run their best race of the year at the right time? That's the big question."

Regardless, Schroeder said it's good to have a teammate that is as driven as he is.

"It's great to have teammates that push you," Schroeder said. "Since I've started running, Ryan has been there. I've been trying to keep up and he's a great friend and teammate."

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In the 1,600, Haggerty is the No. 6-seeded runner. Schroeder is seeded 12th in the 21-person field. The field includes top-seeded Derek Boekelheide, of Northwestern, with a time of 4:31.20. From there, the next 12 runners are all seeded with times between 4:38 and 4:46.

Schroeder is the third-seeded boys runner in the 3,200-meter race, which includes top-seeded Burke/South Central runner Kray Person and fourth-seeded Gregory runner Aaron Voigt. Person was third a year ago, while last year's second-place finisher, Platte-Geddes' Zach Pettit, is seeded No. 6.

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELDFREEMAN
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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