Justin Clarke improves 26 places, slices 25 seconds off his time in his third state meet CC run

By: Les Knutson

Murray County News Sports

Slicing 25 seconds off his 2017 time at this year’s Class A state cross country championships Saturday afternoon (November 3) on the challenging 5,000-meter course at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Murray County Central High School’s Justin Clarke, a junior, finished 59th among 176 qualifying Class A boys.

Clarke, who earned his third consecutive state-meet individual advancement with a terrific race at the Section 3A championship (at Luverne, October 26), improved 26 places from last year’s middle-of-the-pack 85th-place finish. He also qualified two years ago, as a freshman, and placed 88th with a time of 17:35.3.

Clarke ran the course in 17:29.1 last year and slashed exactly 25 seconds off of that this year, running the distance (3.11 miles) in 17:04.1, a new personal best.

“I think that running here twice before helped,” summed up Clarke while chatting with Rebel teammates and friends in the huge and newly-refurbished St. Olaf Field House after Saturday’s race. “I knew when the hills were coming and I knew where the sharp turns were. It was fun, I felt pretty good the whole way.”

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