Tyynismaa’s freshman debut at state meet

STC’s Tommy Tyynismaa ran in the Class 3A Cross Country meet Friday, Oct. 30. Photo Provided

South Tama County freshman runner Tommy Tyynismaa competed in the Class 3A boys’ state championship race Friday afternoon. Running a time of 17:55, Tyynismaa finished 96th out of 134 participants in the event.

“I was really happy to accomplish something that I didn’t really think would happen for me in my freshman year,” Tommy Tyynismaa said. “At the beginning of the season I wasn’t really thinking about State, I was more thinking about my times at each race and how good I’m going to run.”

It was the freshman’s first attempt at state and the culmination of a strong year for the Trojan head coach’s son.

“It’s always special,” head coach Robert Tyynismaa said. “You’re on pins-and-needles while they’re out there and you’re nervous for them. You want them to do well but at the same time make sure I’m doing my coaching.”

The Tyynismaa family have been a mainstay in the Iowa high school running scene over the past several years with each of their four children now having qualified for either State Track and Field or State Cross Country during their high school careers.

On Friday, course conditions for the 3A and 4A races were more favorable than they were Saturday for Class 2A and 1A who battled 35mph winds across the golf course setting.

Tommy Tyynismaa said the opening mile was a challenge having to navigate through so many runners and establish his best pace.

“At the start everybody was grouped tight together, that was pretty crazy,” Tommy Tyynismaa said. “It funneled down really quick so a lot us were boxed in at the beginning. In the first mile I went out way too fast for my liking and that kind of made me pay in the next two miles.”

The freshman harrier becomes the first state qualifier on the South Tama boys team since Blake Keller in 2015. Only one other Trojan boys runner, Brandon Nelson, has made it to State in the past decade.

“It was a good experience for him to see that he could get there,” Robert Tyynismaa said. “He also sees where he wants to improve on his time and on his place at State, hopefully down the road.”

The STC boys team will bring back a strong sophomore class helmed by Tyynismaa as well as several seniors next year that have been varsity contributors and will add experience to the roster.

Although the high school cross country landscape is highly competitive in Eastern Iowa, the Trojans believe the next couple of years could offer some legitimate opportunities to break through into the State Meet as a team.

“As long as we all hit our summer training and nobody gets injured I think we’ll have a good team next year,” Tommy Tyynismaa said. “We have a lot of potential.”

Tyynismaa plans to play basketball for the Trojans this winter and lace his running shoes back up again in the spring for track and field.

He said his goals during the cross country off-season are to get more aerobically fit so he can withstand faster running paces for longer periods of time. He also hopes improve on his strength and speed during the track and field season.