Woodbury cross country: Voit, Wareham reach finish line with state
Woodbury senior Taylor Voit basked in glory of reaching the Class 2A boys cross-country state meet at St. Olaf College, just happy to conclude his high school career at the state meet after some near misses.
Voit placed 93rd overall on the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 56.5 seconds in his first and only state meet trip. Voit didn’t have any specific time or place in mind when he prepared for the race and was satisfied with his performance after waiting four years to reach his goal of running in the state meet.
“It was a dream come true,” Voit said. “Ever since I first started … I really just wanted to get here. Mostly I was just happy to come here. Mostly it was just run the race the best I could. It’s the last race of my high school career, just do the best that you can.”
Voit missed the state meet as a sophomore when he finished four spots away and last season he missed the state meet by one spot.
“Sometimes justice is sweet,” Royals head coach Mark Andrews said. “As a senior that was what he was really striving for.”
It helped having junior teammate Nick Wareham at the state meet with Voit. Wareham finished 68th at last year’s state meet and gave pointers to Voit as to what to expect at the state meet this season.
Voit also benefitted from having run the course throughout his career. Earlier this season ran the course in 17:20, he said.
“My time wasn’t that good, but this course is harder than some of the other courses,” Voit said.
Voit said the course is far narrower than most of the courses the team runs during the season and that can present problems right out of the gate as 174 runners jockey for position into the course lanes.
Andrews worked with Wareham and Voit to establish the proper pace for the race.
“We worked on some pacing to get the times down,” Andrews said. “I think last year Nick went out in a 5:09 and I think Taylor said this year it was 4:55, which is way too fast, but you almost have to get out there so that you don’t get boxed in. If you get boxed in on this course, you’re never going to recover.”
Wareham placed 151st overall in 17:40.6 but suffered through illness during the race. Last season Wareham finished the race in 16:38.
Wareham’s race left him disappointed after he had set his sights on a top 35 finish this season.
“I thought I could have placed a little higher last year,” Wareham said. “I wasn’t overly disappointed with it, but this year I’m a little angry with how it went. Hoping to kind of redeem myself next year and get into the top 25.”
Andrews said he expects Wareham to return to state next season with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after this season.
“He’s an outstanding runner,” Andrews said. “He’ll be back and boy is he going to be hungry next year.”