Cardinals Fly with Anderson

(Bill Peyton interviewed Emmet Anderson right before his Milaca Mega Meet D1 victory on Sep. 21)

Emmet Anderson has the fastest boys 5k in Minnesota thus far with a time of 15:09 which is 4:52 mile pace.  He has won all six of his seven races, including the prestigious St. Olaf Showcase and the Moorhead Dragon Twilight and finished runner-up in the Roy Griak Gold competition.

Emmet Anderson File

Track PRs

XC Progression

State Appearances

400m: 56 (relay) 8th gr: 17:09 2018:
800m: 2:03 (relay) Freshman: 16:06 3200m, 10:01, 13th
1600m: 4:40 Sophomore: 16:07 2019:
3200m: 9:36 Junior: 15:09 3200m, 9:36, 3rd

Who are your coaches?

In cross country we have Bruce Fuhrman, Kristie Johnson, and Steve Jennison.  Track & field is directed by head coaches Cory Asfeld and Fuhrman.  The assistant coaches are Chris Kappler, Steve Fligge, and Tony Spandl.  Fuhrman is the main distance running guy and I spend the most time with him in practices.

Why is it that Staples-Motley is so tough in distance running?

It goes way back to state championships with Jerry Riewer and Gene Mattila. We have a different team environment in cross country/track & field than many of the other sports because of tradition.  It's always positive.  Pine Grove Park is where we usually practice and that is an open area with a one-mile loop.  We do not have a lot of hills, but we can find variety.  This serves us well because the coaches can always see us.  It's fun too because we create our own path every year!  We get to run on grass most of the time and do our long runs with 1-mile loops.  Most of the kids longest run is 10 miles.  Some of us might go a little longer sometimes.

Fuhrman does not follow one source in his training but rather uses various sources. We try to not have too many serious races back to back.  He might tell us to back off on the pace in certain races.  He realizes that some kids might push hard every race because they are the #4-#6 runner on the team.  So, he will vary what that person does in practices to compensate and rest him or her.  I cannot tell you how many miles I run each week during the season because I concentrate on how many hard days we do. We try to do things right.

We usually do interval type training 2 times per week with long runs in between but that depends on races.  Some of the intervals are long and some are short.  We do the Flying 30s and also do "broken," runs of between 150 to 400 meters.  A broken 150 would be where you buildup the first 50 meters, sprint the middle 50, and then gradually slow down the last 50 for example.  We do not do strides very often.

Fuhrman allows athletes to be themselves and not just runners.  If someone has a trip during the summer or even early in the season that is not a problem.  He just assigns them workouts while they are gone and trusts them to do them. Towards the championships part of the season though he expects everyone to be at all practices and meets.

How did you learn race strategy?

I always started too fast when I started out in the sport. I gradually learned not to do that with a combination of Fuhrman telling me not to do it, and also the day before the meet we would run 1 x 1000 meters.  For each of us he would have a pace he wanted us to run.  This year I was supposed to run 3:10. If I could run it as if I was running a little bit slower than race pace then we knew that's the pace I should run.  If I ran 3:18 or so, then we could determine it is too fast for me to hold it the entire race.  Another kid might be instructed to run 4:00 and if he ran 4:08, then that pace is too fast for the first 1000.  We also practice new race strategies in small races.

Who are your teammates?

At the Moorhead Dragon Twilight, we finished in 4th place.  Perham won the meet over Bemidji 55 to 65.  Running for Staples-Motley were Hunter Klimek, Tanner Robben, Isaac Christopherson, Jack Tyrrell, and Luke Brownell and myself.  Staples-Motley won the girls race over Perham 45-49.  The girls' team there consisted of the top runner Kyanna Burton, Aften Robinson, Addison Lorber, Ashley Robben, Addisyn Cichos, and Elizabeth Danilyuk.

 How did you get your start in sports and eventually become a distance runner?

I was born in Madelia, MN near Mankato.  My main sport was soccer which I played with the many cousins I have in that area.  Later on, we moved to Staples where I played all of the sports they had to offer:  Wrestling, basketball, football, track & field, cross country, and tee ball.

In 5th grade I went out for track and the coaches asked us what we wanted to do.  I chose distance running and the 1600 was the longest race.  I didn't think much of it then because it seemed like a lot of work! 

My dad, Mark Anderson, was a cross country runner at St. Olaf College and he encouraged me to give cross country running a try.  I felt that in the 6th grade I was just average.  But in 7th grade I started to think I might be good at it.

Did you have any role models who influenced your choice?

I certainly followed the older kids like Ryan Trout.  It was a neat thing as a middle school kid to hang out with guys like that.  Trout qualified for state in cross country with the team as a sophomore and was an all-around athlete:  16-11 LJ; 11-6 PV; and 10:49 3200.  He graduated in 2016.

How will things turn out for you and your team at conference, section, and state?

Last year we won the Mid-State Conference and it was at our home course. We expect to have a chance to win again with Detroit Lakes likely to be the leading challenger.  Section 6A is usually between West Central and us.  There are other good individual runners but they might be a year away from challenging us as a team.

Geno Uhrbom, Greenway; Anderson and Klimek, Staples-Motley; Brandon O'Hara and Bailey Evenson, Perham; Harris Anderson, Math & Science; Jacob Bright, West Central; Cameron Stocke, Virginia; and Tyson Mahar, East Grand Forks are the leading contenders for the state individual title right now.

What did you do for practice today after your meet on Monday?

Since it was around 86 degrees, we took it easy.  We jogged 1 mile.  Next came static or dynamic stretches on your own.  Everyone has their own specific needs and is expected to do what they need. After that we did 2 X strides. Then many of us ran 4 miles. Our cooldown consisted of 800 meters at a "baby jog." We then stretched again to conclude the day.

How about in the summer?

I worked out daily with our seniors Klimek and Tyrrell. We do a lot of weight training.  Mostly it's for the lower body and core.  We do body weight exercises a lot. We do not do much upper body, if at any.  We did 7 or 8 miles each day with occasional days at 10 miles or 5 miles.  Most of this was done at conversational pace just to get the miles in.  If we felt really good we might do a tempo run. I would say we averaged about 50 miles per week.

Take us through your race at Moorhead.  Why did you run so fast there?

I knew many of the top runners going into the race like West Central's Bright; Perham's O'Hara; and my own teammate Klimek.  So, right away I knew who was going to be in the front pack right away.  I was really just watching those kids off the gun.  And it was a really flat course because it was on soccer fields, so we planned on going out fast.  There were no hills to slow us down, so we could maintain a consistent pace.  Right away as soon as we got out there, even though it was 7 pm, it was still very warm out.  O'Hara took it out insanely fast, he was cooking! 

So, I followed directly behind him.  Because I knew he had a good pace setting ability.  Whether he can maintain it or not that seems to fluctuate.  But I figured he would be a good guide.  Soon after this I started to lose form a little bit.  I was just trying to hang on.  Just before the 2-mile marker it was O'Hara, me, and Bright.  I had raced these guys many times before and we are good friends, I knew that it would come down to us three.  I could tell O'Hara was tiring because his form was breaking down a bit.  I threw in a little surge and passed him.  I seemed to separate from both of them quite a bit because of this.  I peeked back around corners and could see I was getting a gap of around 40 or so meters.  I then noticed the marker for 1000 meter to go which I was originally planning to take off from.

The course was designed to have two 2000-meter loops and this final 1000 meter loop.  I had planned to do what I did at St. Olaf and cruise away in the final 1000.  However, O'Hara and Bright seemed tired and I felt they would not come back if I took it out at 2 miles, so that is what I did.

The rest of the way I just tried to maintain my form with 800 meters to go.  I could see the clock and knew at this point it was going to be a huge PR for me.  I believe all of the top ten guys had a PR.  Bright finished right behind me, and my teammate Klimek had a great race to finish third.  It was great to see so many Class A runners finish high!

What is your favorite course?

I do not like the races on golf courses nearly as much as other ones like at St. Olaf College.  There is a lot more scenic variety on courses like those.

 What do you think you will do after college?

 I do plan to run in college. This being my junior year I do get some letters, but I have no idea yet where I am going to go. I work hard in class to keep on the honor roll.  I might want to major in Psychology in college.

PHOTO CREDITS: cover photo/top, Teresa Brubaker; all others provided by Mark Anderson.