Eastern Iowa’s mile markers earn victories

DES MOINES — Conner Smock and Cody Beemer talked about buying a pop. Eric Thien was thinking about cake. Brett Egan wanted to try a Wild Cherry Pepsi.

All lived Spartan lifestyles to attain the ultimate goal for a long-distance runner: to win a state championship in the 1,600-meter run. For Smock, Thien and Egan, the goal was achieved. Beemer, who teams with Smock at Lisbon, finished second.

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Egan, a senior at Waukon, stayed with the pack early then broke away late to win the Class 3A title. He finished in 4 minutes, 17.42 seconds, more than eight seconds ahead of runner-up Brogan Austin of Boone.

“I wanted to stay back on the first lap and set the pace,” Egan said. “When I saw it was like a 4:13 on the first 800, so I knew I could handle picking it up a little more.”

Nobody was within 60 meters of Egan when he crossed the finish line. The winning distance was comparable for Thien, who won the 2A crown for Tipton.

Thien, a senior, finished in 4:21.50, more than three seconds ahead of second-place Ryan Krogmann of Northeast Goose Lake. Thien also won the 3,200-meter on Thursday.

Thien set the pace early and maintained it throughout the race. He wasn’t even challenged.

“That was my goal the whole time,” Thien said. “It’s hot out, it’s the same condition for everyone. I knew it was hot, and then I was like you know what, let’s win state.”

Smock, a freshman, took over the 1A race midway through the second lap. He kept his pace and finished in 4:30.65. Beemer rallied down the stretch on the final 50 meters to take second in 4:33.20, .05 earlier than AGWSR’s Parker Drake.

“You say no fear, but I was pretty scared waiting for our race,” said Smock, who also won the 1A 3,200. “But I knew I could run a good enough time to win.”

Smock and Beemer trained together throughout the season and were finish 1-2. They also helped Lisbon finish third in Class 1A with 39 points, one point out of second place.

“I came in and the pace was a little fast, but I wanted to get my adrenaline out there,” Beemer said. ” The 200 meters, I  just said ‘OK,’ and I was able to kick it into second.”

For all, the training is over. They can look to their vices this weekend on Memorial Day cookouts. But it might not take that long.

“I think it’s sinking in right now,” said Smock about winning two events at state. “My teammate and I are going to drink a pop right now as soon as track season is over.”

“I’m going to the Pizza Ranch,” Thien said unprompted. “I’m getting some ice cream and some chicken wings.

I gave up my pop my freshman year. I gave up sweets. It’s hard because of graduation weekend. There was a lot of cake and stuff. When I get back, I’m going to have lots of cake.”

He can officially have his cake and it eat it, too.

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