His name says it all.
Crosby-Ironton junior Will Goodwin ran a 17:15 to win the Ranger Invitational Oct. 4 at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge.
It was the first career victory for the three-year varsity runner, who has helped the Rangers to the last two Class 1A state meets.
Goodwin beat second-place runner Mike Ryan of Pequot Lakes by five seconds.
“He came out and went after it from the get-go,” said Rangers head coach Erika Perpich. “He finished the race with a smile on his face. I think with maybe 400 meters left he knew he had this one for his first career win.”
It was a good win for Goodwin, who has been one of the leading runners on a team full of talent, which they displayed Thursday by winning the Mid-State Conference title for the only the second time. Goodwin placed third for all-conference honors.
“I was pretty excited,” said Goodwin. “(Assistant coach Roger) Twigg said it was only the second time that the boys have won the conference so that was a big thing for us. Now we have to look ahead to Tuesday’s Proctor Invite and then get ready for sections, which will be a big challenge for us.”
Before looking ahead too far, Goodwin looked back to his first victory on the Alec’s Nine at Ruttger’s, a course he knows well against competition he’s run against before.
“I just knew going into that race we had to be confident and ready to go because Brainerd had a pretty good team and they would be ready,” said Goodwin. “I had some confidence going in because I knew the course and I knew I had a chance to stay in front of the pack.
“I went out hard and kept my position the whole race. I didn’t fall back when it got tough. I just kept my pace and stayed ahead.”
Goodwin ran a third-place time of 17:03.6 to lead the Rangers to a victory Sept. 27. He was 11th at the 25-team Mega Meet Sept. 22 in Milaca. He ran a time of 17:10.2 to lead the Rangers to fourth.
“He really put in a lot of work this summer, which has really paid off,” said Perpich. “He really has that drive and goes out every meet and gives his best effort. He’s a strong runner.
“He’s one that will not give up the fight. He’s not afraid of pain. You give him a job and he’ll do it. He’s a very dedicated athlete and is very coachable.”
The three-sport athlete has a drive to help this group of Rangers become the first in program history to three-peat as state meet qualifiers. C-I’s squad consists of just one senior, three juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Yet, Goodwin believes his team has a chance to make it back to state.
“We definitely have a great chance,” he said. “Our section has some good teams, but we compare really well against them. We have a great chance to make it back down to state.”
Other notable performances:
Cross country: Mike Ryan, Pequot Lakes, won the Pine River-Backus Invite in 18:17.
Football: Dillon Card, Verndale, finished with 150 rushing yards and three touchdowns and threw for another score against Ashby.
Dakota Finck, Verndale, finished with 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Jalen Wuchko, Little Falls, finished with 11 yards and a touchdown against Foley.
Travis Richards, Pillager, rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown and returned a fumble for another score against Cass Lake-Bena.
Dezmond Berndt, Pillager, rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns against Cass Lake-Bena.
Josh Lanners, Pierz, rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns against Rockford.
Drey Loge, Pine River-Backus, rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns against Blackduck.
Evan VanErp, Wadena-Deer Creek, rushed for 97 yards and threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns against United North Central.
Tyler Tappe, Pequot Lakes, rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns against Crookston.
Zack Olander, Crosby-Ironton, rushed for 128 yards on 21 carries against Hinckley-Finlayson.