WAUKEE - Fort Dodge's Alex Jackson punched his first career individual ticket to the boys state cross country meet Thursday night.
Competing in a Class 4A district race at Legacy Point Park, the sophomore Jackson turned in a sixth-place overall effort in a time of 16:30.
"Alex ran a great race (yesterday)," said FDSH head coach Tim Hanson. "The game plan for him was pretty simple. Because of the wind and rain, it was more of a strategy race. He was around 10th with a little over a mile to go and he definitely wanted it that last mile.
"To run close to a (personal best) in these conditions showed how mentally strong of a runner he is."
As a team, the Dodgers finished sixth with 154 points. No. 9 Waukee (50) and 11th-ranked West Des Moines Valley (58) paced the field.
Other Fort Dodge participants were Thomas Thompson (33rd, 17:39), Nic Ganzeveld (35th, 17:46), Austin Read (39th, 18:08), Jim Springer (41st, 18:30), Devon Schuster (44th, 18:45) and Aaron Brandt (47th, 19:35).
"Overall, I thought we did ok as a team," Hanson said. "We're definitely a young team that has the potential to be in the top three (at districts) next year, but each runner needs to commit to the training during the summer, or otherwise we'll plateau and won't see any improvement. I saw how our kids were disappointed after the race, so hopefully they'll use that as motivation when summer comes around."
On the girls side, the Dodgers tied with Indianola for fifth in the team standings with 122 points. No. 9 Waukee (49) and 12th-ranked Urbandale (51) led the way.
Madison Bodholdt (39th, 18:15), Sarah Rethwisch (40th, 18:16), Becca Sunken (44th, 19:10), Amberly Habhab (45th, 19:17), Katarina Olson (46th, 19:20) and Laura Nerlich (47th, 19:21) were all in action for Fort Dodge.
"Our girls had a rough day with the top three teams scoring less than 56 points, which tells you how strong the district was," said Hanson. "Madison led the way again, and Sara ran a good race, too."
Valley's No. 1 Ben Anderson (16:01) prevailed in the boys race, while Des Moines Roosevelt's 24th-ranked Megan Schott (15:01) captured gold in the girls event.
The 34th annual co-ed state cross country meet will take place Oct. 27. Start time is set for 11 a.m. at Fort Dodge's Lakeside Golf Course inside Kennedy Park.