Jase Kraft edges Jongeling in 3,200 for title
Parker's Duane Jongeling and Wessington Springs' Jase Kraft have been trying to outrun each other for the entire school year. During cross country season, Jongeling got the best of Kraft by winning the individual title with a time of 16 minutes, ...
Parker's Duane Jongeling and Wessington Springs' Jase Kraft have been trying to outrun each other for the entire school year.
During cross country season, Jongeling got the best of Kraft by winning the individual title with a time of 16 minutes, 24.02 seconds. Kraft came in second place with a time of 17:02.87. Parker also took the team title in cross country and Wessington Springs came in third.
Friday, at the Class B state track tournament in Rapid City, it almost seemed like Jongeling was going to get the best of Kraft, again. Jongeling and Kraft were neck and neck for the entire 3,200-meter race until the last 200 yards when Kraft pulled ahead and was able to grab the first-place spot with a time of 9:45.15. Jongeling finished right behind him with a time of 9:46.19.
"It's my first individual state win (Friday) and it's really cool," Kraft said.
Earlier in the day, the Wessington Springs boys' 4x800 meter relay team came in third place with a time of 8:37.73 and Kraft said that was really disappointing for him. He felt Braden Jones, Terrek Butterfield and Owen Witte, who make up the relay team, had been working really hard toward winning that event but they just couldn't pull it off. Kraft also ran in the sprint medley and said the team was also hoping for a win in the preliminaries, but was beat out by Langford Area.
Kraft said after the race, even though he was disappointed with his teams' finish times, he tried to put that out of his mind and focus on his upcoming race.
That technique worked for him as he was able to edge out Jongeling in the final minutes of the race.
"The third place was alright in the 4x800 relay and then our medley -- I felt like we should have gotten first -- but winning this individual title is so great," he said.
After the race, Kraft hugged friends and teammates and Jongeling gave him a congratulatory handshake at the finish line. Kraft didn't have a lot of breath for words, but the look on his face said it all. Kraft said he was glad to have all the support of his teammates behind him.
"It's so much more than a medal," he said.
"The atmosphere was so great and just the chance to run (Friday) was so amazing.
"Our group of guys on the team is so fun in practice and they goof around but they work at it, too. It's just really fun and they make the season go by really fast."