Oconto Falls runner competes at state

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Oconto Falls High School junior Brody Schindel placed 109th with a time of 18 minutes, 17.01 seconds in the WIAA State Championships Division 2 race on Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. (Photo by Lon Ludemann)

Brody Schindel represented Oconto Falls cross-country at the WIAA State Championships with a 109th-place finish in 18 minutes, 17.01 seconds on Saturday.

“It wasn’t my best race of the season,” he said. “We don’t get to choose the weather. We never really ran in that cold of weather before. Considering what we had to run in, I thought I did all right.”

Kavanaugh FitzPatrick (15:52.88), from Lakeland, took first place in the race out of 152 runners in Division 2.

Schindel isn’t new to the challenging Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The junior returned to the race as an individual qualifier in Division 2 after advancing with his team last year.

“I knew the course a lot better because of that,” Schindel said, “but running alone was more difficult because there was nobody I could run with. The experience was still great though, even though I didn’t run as I’d hoped. I liked being able to represent my team.”

“He didn’t run as well as he has this season,” head coach Lon Ludemann said. “Sometimes you just simply don’t run well. But he ran in the last race of the day which I think had a mental effect on him, having to wait around that long.”

Even without posting his best performance at state, Schindel had a season filled with accomplishment.

“I really just wanted it this year. Starting off at our first meet, I was in the 18-minute range, and I just kept PRing every race. I got into the 17s and just kept working to shave off time every single meet, so it was a really good season for me.”

One of his PRs came at the WIAA Division 2 sectional race to qualify for state. Schindel passed three runners in the final few hundred meters to clinch his spot in the championships.

“Going into sectionals, I knew I had a lot of pressure on me being the only possible state qualifier. So I was nervous for that,” he said. “I was doubtful during the race, but I saw everyone else around me was also looking really tired. So I just pushed and gave it everything I had, and it worked for me.”

“That was remarkable to see,” Ludemann said. “It’s a testament to how hard of a worker he is. He saw his opportunity and took it. He’s a talented guy, and he’s got a year left. So I’m excited to see how much farther he can go next season.”

Schindel hopes his run at state will continue through his final year on the team.

“I definitely want to get back there for my senior season,” he said. “I think it’s everyone’s goal to get to state. But having gone already, I have an even bigger desire to go back next year.”