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Siekmeier makes MSA history at State cross-country meet

Math and Science Academy cross-country runner Jacob Siekemier made school history by becoming the first Dragon athlete to take part in a State competition with a 52nd-place finish at the Class A meet in Northfield on Saturday. Staff Photo by Tom Carothers.

With the sound of a starter's pistol and an initial step over the line, Jacob Siekmeier made Math and Science Academy history on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Class A State boys Cross-Country Meet as the first-ever Dragon to compete at the State level.

And just how did it feel to the freshman to be the first?

"Really hot," he said.

One had to excuse the freshman for being a little spent after completing the 5,000-meter course at St. Olaf College in Northfield on a day where the temperature was nearly 20 degrees warmer than the norm for November 7.

Once Siekmeier, who caught his breath and got some fluids, regained himself after a 52nd place finish in a time of 17 minutes, 33 seconds, the gravity of the achievement sunk in -- just a little bit.

"I always have wanted to get more respect for MSA," he said, before promptly reflecting on the run itself. "I might've done a little better -- I held my position well, but just didn't pass as many others as I would have liked."

His coach, Daniel Scheff, agreed with his runner's assessment, but said, "He's got many more years ahead of him."

Scheff was also pleased that Siekmeier was able to debut MSA at State and looked forward to other Dragons competitors to join the freshman in the future.

"Once one person makes it, everyone else knows it is possible -- it's like breaking through a barrier," he said. "Our next step is to get a team here."

However, that goal is nearly a year away. For one afternoon, the spotlight was on Siekmeier, who Scheff inferred would truly grow to appreciate his accomplishment.

"I am very happy for him, as are his friends and teammates," he said. "It's something that he'll have for the rest of his life."