Trojans’ Blazek, Byrne heading back to state

Turkey Valley duo qualify for trip to Fort Dodge for a third straight year

For the third straight year, Jalyssa Blazek and Jaycie Byrne will represent Turkey Valley when the 1A girls run Saturday at state cross country. But coach Sarah Bakula, like any good coach, was hoping for more.

“That’s not the way we wanted the season to end,” she said the day after the 18-school state qualifying meet. “Our goal was to take a team to state.”

Turkey Valley fell short, as the Trojans were fifth, and only two teams advance to the meet held at Fort Dodge.

There was also disappointment on the part of Cambree Kruse, who ran a 21:49, 11th in the girls race, with the first 10 advancing. She missed qualifying by just under 10 seconds.

“I worked hard in the summer, and pushed myself this year because I really wanted to go to state,” she said. Surrounded by family and friends trying to console the junior, Kruse just concluded a breakout season, in which she cut big chunks off her time and finished fifth in the Upper Iowa Conference race.

“I didn’t feel as confident as I did at the conference race,” said Kruse. “But Jalyssa and Jaycie, they’ve been great motivating me, it’s been amazing to run with them in practices. I’ll be back next year.”

Byrne won’t, as the team’s only senior.

“This felt like my best race this year,” she said. “It’s my last year, I don’t want to give up cross country just yet.”

— For more on this story, see the Oct. 27 Tribune

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