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Kernels' Krause keeps climbing

Heading into her final three meets as a member of the Mitchell High School girls cross-country team, Mary Krause has already left her mark on the program.

Mitchell's Mary Krause leads the pack during the Mitchell Invite earlier this year at Mitchell Middle School. (Eric Mayer/Republic)
Mitchell's Mary Krause leads the pack during the Mitchell Invite earlier this year at Mitchell Middle School. (Eric Mayer/Republic)

Heading into her final three meets as a member of the Mitchell High School girls cross-country team, Mary Krause has already left her mark on the program.

As an eighth-grader, Krause placed 28th at the Class AA state meet and finished in the top-40 in both her freshman and sophomore seasons. She set the school's record for fastest 5K time as a junior, but she has saved her best season for last.

This year, Krause has pushed herself in every competition, achieving a personal-record time in all five meets, breaking the school record each time. She's coming off another personal-best race of 20 minutes and 12 seconds last week at the Watertown Invitational.

"I've never seen this in my 30 years," Mitchell head coach Keith Christensen said about Krause's senior season. "She isn't done by no means."

To prepare for her final prep season, Krause said she did more running during the summer and does personal workouts at home-even after cross-country practices.

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"I have been working hard and doing a little bit of extra work on the side," Krause said. "I come prepared with a good mindset to run. I enjoy it and you have to put in the time and effort to get good results."

She's placed in the top-10 at three races this season and finished 21st in a 127-runner field at the Huron Invite. More impressive than the high finishes have been Krause's personal feats, in running a personal record race in every varsity meet as a senior.

"It shows that the time and effort I put into it is paying off," Krause said. "It's good feeling to see that all of the hard work is working."

Christensen called Krause's string of races "rare" and praised how the senior has embraced a leadership role in the cross-country program. He noted the South Dakota High School Activities Association's move to make girls cross-country races 5,000 meters instead of 4,000 meters in 2015 has also benefited Krause.

"She's a workhorse," said Christensen, who added Krause regularly practices with the boy runners. "She isn't the fastest girl, but she's strong. Mary can run the 5K well. She isn't afraid of pain."

Krause will lead the Kernel girls team into the Eastern South Dakota Conference meet, which Mitchell will host at 11 a.m. at Wild Oak Golf Course. It's the first time in nine years Mitchell has hosted the ESD meet.

"I really like the team this year, we're working really hard. It's good to have a good morale overall," said Krause, who added she's hoping to achieve another personal record at the ESD race. "Coach C (Christensen) is great and he's put in a lot of work for us and really helping us this year."

Christensen said if Krause were to hit another personal record at the ESD meet, she'd earn her spot as an all-conference runner.

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"Mary's got a shot at top 15," said Christensen, adding breaking the 20-minute barrier is a goal for Krause. "There won't be many runners that achieve a PR, but Mary could."

Krause has witnessed first-hand the constant flux with participation numbers in the sport of cross-country as well as coaching changes. With Christensen rejoining the Mitchell cross-country program as the head coach in 2015, Krause said future for the Kernels is bright.

"It's getting more serious and that's good," said Krause, who added she'd like to continue to run cross-country in college. "We're all improving time-wise. Over the six years I've ran, it's grown so much and been a lot of fun."

Christensen credited Krause's family for helping both Mary and the cross-country team continue to find success. He mentioned how people noticed Krause helping lead the middle school runners warm-ups after running in the varsity race herself as an example of Krause's impact on the program.

"Leave it better than you found it," Christensen said. "The program is going to be better when she's done."

Related Topics: KERNELSCROSS COUNTRY
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