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Cross-Country: Lake City's Dammann clinches All-State honors

Lake City's Carston Dammann (13) pulls ahead of a pack of runners at the 3,200-meter mark during Saturday's Class 1A state championship meet in Northfield.

NORTHFIELD - Running in his second Class 1A state championship meet, Lake City senior cross-country runner Carston Dammann knows there are traps everywhere.

There are slowdowns at the beginning when 175 runners are bolting out of the chutes to begin the race.

"It's always hard at the start because you get boxed in by everybody," Dammann said. "It got a lot better once we came out of that back loop."

And near the end of the race, Dammann nearly fell into another trap around a curve as runners started slowing down. If Dammann didn't make a move, he'd be slowed down to a grinding halt like a car heading into rush hour traffic.

"The one thing I was yelling when he got to the three-quarters mark, 'You need to get out of where you are,'" said Lake City head coach Howard Cook. "He was on the inside, and if someone starts slowing down, one guy slows down five people and you end up walking around the corner. You can't get behind in this race or you're done."

Luckily, Dammann was able to avoid getting caught up in the mass of runners, ending his high school running career on a high note, gaining All-State honors after finishing in 23rd place at 16 minutes, 32.9 seconds. The top 25 runners earn All-State nods.

"I made All-State, which was my goal, so I'm happy about that," an exhausted Dammann said afterwards. "It's a great feeling. Everything I worked for over the summer paid off."

Racing for the final time as a Tiger, Dammann improved his state time by nearly 30 seconds after finishing in 32nd place as a junior.

Winning the Class 1A individual title was Proctor's Matt Welch, who finished the 5,000-meter race in 15:34.0, over 12 seconds better than runner up Charlie Lawrence of Foley.

Cook said that Dammann's performance was helped this season by a strong group of Section 1A runners that also were in All-State range.

"Our section did so well (Saturday)," Cook said. "I saw that (Rochester Lourdes' Ian) Torchia was running sixth, and (Plainview-Elgin-Millville's Pat) Reinsdchmidt was 10th (finishing 13th), and (Richard Swanson of Kingsland) was in 11th. Our section did well, too, and that's who you race all year."

The goal all season was for Dammann to finish as an All-State runner. And after all the work he's put into the program since starting in his junior year, Cook was elated to see his top runner's hard work pay off.

"Like I told him beforehand, he worked really hard for it and he deserves it," Cook said. "The boys on our team follow Carston like puppy dogs, and I'm sure they're around here watching it.

"We're just happy with the race he had. I just want him to feel good about this last race, enjoy it, and he did that."

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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