Tri-Center’s Peyton Pogge following her first-place finish at the Lewis Central Cross Country Invite at Iowa Western Community College on Sept. 14. Pogge is the top-ranked runner in Class 1-A and she’s won every meet she’s entered this season.

The running bug bit Peyton Pogge at a young age.

Years ago, before her days as a cross country standout at Tri-Center, Pogge realized at an end-of-the-year grade school event the joys of the competitiveness of running. She was in first grade.

“In elementary school, there was always a track and field race at the end of the year, and I loved to do that,” she said. “I tried (organized cross country) in the seventh grade, and I really loved it.”

Since then, Pogge has fine-tuned her craft, molding herself into one of Iowa’s elite runners. Now a junior in high school, she is the top-ranked runner in Class 1-A in the Iowa Association of Track Coaches girls rankings.

Pogge has won all three of the meets Tri-Center has entered in 2019, crossing first at the Shenandoah, Logan-Magnolia and Lewis Central Invites. More impressive has been her margin of victory. She won by over a minute at both Shenandoah and Logan and by 57 seconds at the Sept. 14 L.C. Invite.

She also already owns course records at Adair-Casey (19:56), Audubon (19:21), Denison-Schleswig (18:30) and Logan-Magnolia (17:57).

“She is just an extremely motivated person,” second-year Tri-Center coach Alexia Cochran said. “She does everything right, and not just with running, but in all aspects of life, she always gives it her all.”

The results aren’t surprising, given Pogge’s drive and work ethic. She finished fourth as a freshman at the 2017 1-A state meet (19:25) and improved that showing last fall as a sophomore, finishing as runner-up (19:24). She aims to maintain her momentum when she gets her third run in Fort Dodge at the end of the season.

And when she gets there, she’ll be well prepared.

“I train a lot during the summer and winter,” said Pogge, who also runs track in the spring. “Before the seasons, I don’t run weekends, but during the week, I’ll have a workout once a week, and then a long run twice a week.

“It was a lot of training during the summer. It’s distance, usually seven miles.”

She and the rest of the 12th-ranked Trojans get tested often with the rich running talent in the area. Logan-Magnolia boasts the top-ranked team in 1-A with three runners in the individual rankings. AHSTW senior Ryann Portch is No. 2 in 1-A.

Pogge has had a highly successful season.

And everyone is still chasing her.

Her next test comes at Thursday’s Panorama Invite, and beyond that, she wants to make sure she’s enjoying peak performance when she heads back to Fort Dodge.

“The biggest thing for Peyton is to make sure that she’s strong so she can stay healthy,” Cochran said. “We’re not focused on meet by meet. We’re training for that state championship.

“She knows she’s not going to run out of fresh legs until then.”

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