Johnson’s historical run at State meet

Meskwaki Settlement School’s Shye Johnson ran in the Class 1A girls State Cross Country meet Saturday, October 31. Darvin Graham/News Chronicle

The first time Meskwaki Settlement School has ever been represented at Fort Dodge was Saturday afternoon, as junior runner Shye Johnson competed as an individual and finished in the top half of the field.

Nervous before the race, there were more people watching her run than ever before, Johnson said. It was an exciting experience, she added.

“That was crazy,” Johnson said. “I don’t know, it was like tunnels everywhere. I was thinking of trying to get in the front and doing my best to get in the front. My goal for next year, if I make it, is to kind of be [up at the front].”

Finishing in 75th with a time of 22:13.1, Johnson passed multiple runners coming to the finish line and said she was confident it could encourage her to fight for a place back at State in 2021.

Cross country head coach Tracy Sienknecht was pleased with Johnson’s race. She also said they were approached by many different people to talk about Johnson’s achievement, and added that Meskwaki was now “on the map” in cross country.

“We’ve had people come up, and there was a Native American here [to watch her] and a Native American coach here to see her,” Sienknecht said. “It also opens the door to let other people see, Meskwaki is out there, and it’s going to continue to be with no doubt.”