Mangelsdorf caps dream season with fifth-place finish at NCAAs
Palmer’s Wylie Mangelsdorf of Principia College envisioned himself running faster than ever before, and then he made it happen.
Powered by positive thinking, the senior turned in the greatest cross country season in school history, winning his conference title, taking second at the west regional and then finishing fifth at the NCAA D3 Championships in Hanover, Ind., to earn his second consecutive All-American honor.
“I knew I could run with that top pack,” he told me. “I thought I might as well go out with them and see what I could do.”
Mangelsdorf, of Palmer High fame, finished the 8K race in 24:47 and improved his position at nationals by 14 spots from last year.
His performance capped a dream season in which he helped Principia College go 11-0 in the regular season and claim the St. Louis Collegiate Athletic Conference championship when he won the conference meet with a record time of 24:30. Naturally, he was named runner of the year.
From there, he went to the NCAA West Regional and placed second to become the only runner on his team to qualify for nationals. He was alone on the trail, but not in spirit.
“I think what actually stood out was the amazing support that I had throughout this season,” Mangelsdorf said.
He credited his coaches for challenging him to set tougher goals that demanded more commitment, focus and time.
“If it’s a mediocre goal you will always make it and then you don’t know what to do next,” Mangelsdorf said. “I think it’s what helped me push through this whole summer of training and getting in all the miles I needed to get in.”