Karolus motivated for fourth state cross country appearance

Sean Cordy

Jaylene Karolus had a goal in mind last season, to make it to the balcony where the top 15 runners at the state meet are awarded each year. She placed 22nd overall with a time of 19 minutes 38 seconds, less than 20 seconds away from reaching that heralded balcony.  

After Friday's run at the Class 3A state meet, Karolus has one more chance to climb those steps as she finished 64th overall with a time of 20:48. Though it was behind her career-best run last season, the Perry junior left to say "it was okay" and just another thing to work on for her senior campaign.

Jaylene Karolus heads to the finish line during the Class 3A girls state cross country meet on Friday, Oct. 30 in Fort Dodge.

Perry head coach Ryan Marzen said they were working toward a pace for 19:30, primarily focused on the first two-thirds of the run. Hitting that target was the right goal in mind, as the top 15's cutoff was 19:44 this year. 

"She did everything she could for those first two files, got out really hard like we wanted her to," Marzen said. "We talked a lot about just going for it. One of the things I always like to think about especially with championship racing is you've got to be very aggressive and take a lot of gambles and got to be bold. And I think she did that."

Perry's Jaylene Karolus competes on Friday, Oct. 30 during the Class 3A girls state cross country meet.

Following those first couple miles, Karolus was caught up in the pack with a handful of other girls that haven’t been typical of races this season. 

"It's one of those things where you almost get caught off guard when you see four or five other girls," the Perry coach said. "It's easy to get swallowed up by different packs. So it's something we'll definitely work with."

Perry's Jaylene Karolus fights her way to the finish line during the state cross country meet on Friday, Oct. 30.

Marzen added that it's yet another chapter that will help write the rest of Karolus' story as a Jayette with a few tweaks for the 2021 campaign, and even more immediate, the upcoming track season.

Until then, Karolus still has at least one more campaign remaining for the fall sports season as she'll compete at the regional swim meet Saturday, Nov. 7 in Johnston. This past week she broke two school records in the pool.

Jaylene Karolus nears the finish line during the state cross country meet on Friday, Oct. 30 in Fort Dodge.