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Cross country: Massey places 16th at final state meet

Rosemount senior runner Chris Massey has enjoyed team success in recent years with the Rosemount cross country team.

Entering this season, Massey had been to the state meet in St. Olaf twice. When Massey advanced this year to the state meet, he knew what to expect from the course and environment.

What he wasn't used to was being there without his teammates in the competition areas.

"It was my first race I have ever run without a team," Massey said. "The biggest difference was beforehand. You just sit there waiting to warm up, there relaxing. Normally I have had other people there to distract me, people to have conversations with.

"So, I brought my iPod and listened to music. I really didn't think about it. I just tried to stay focused. It really didn't occur to me that anything was different because I didn't let it."

Massey performed well in his first meet as an individual. He finished the 5K course in 16 minutes, 10.2 seconds, earning all-state honors.

The performance was the seventh-best finish by a boys runner at the state meet.

"He followed his race plan to what he wanted to do and did that very well," coach Chris Harder said. "In three years, he has always done well in big meets. When it is nut-cracking time, that's when he runs his best. I can't emphasize enough how well he does in big meets."

This trip to St. Olaf was no different.

Massey was running in the high 20s and low 30s midway through the race before closing the gap late.

"On the toughest part of the course, he moved past guys that went out too fast," Harder said. "He moved up in the toughest part of the course."

He also passed Burnsville's Abdi Hussein, who had beaten Massey in the Section 3 meet.

"During training, I usually feel good enough for the last mile," Massey said. "I knew I could push it there, where a lot of guys might be dying. When you pass guys, it mentally helps you work harder."

Of course, Massey wasn't really alone. Several members of the team and school representatives were on hand to cheer him through the race.

Now that the season is over, Massey isn't slowing down. He has plans to run in the Nike Cross Nationals in Sioux Falls, South Dakota later this month.