GOING THE DISTANCE
When Dan Taylor was a senior he knew exactly what he wanted and knew what it was going to take to get there.
Taylor, a 2002 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate, had visions of state titles in cross country and track. To achieve that he had to commit and lean on his work ethic.
Taylor’s state title runs came in the fall of 2001 and the spring of 2002 in cross country and track respectively.
As a junior in 2000 Taylor placed eighth at Lakeside in the state meet, but in his final campaign he brought home gold. During the track season he earned two state championships, winning the 1600 and 3200 meter runs.
“Winning state cross country my senior year was an unforgettable experience,” Taylor said. “We had a good team that year and a lot of our squad had career races that day. Personally, everything clicked and I knew I was going to win that race from the gun.
“Athletes across all sports will fondly recall times when everything came together for them. State cross country my senior year was one of those moments for me.”
After the cross country season ended and track was about five months away, Taylor didn’t waste any time preparing for track, as he dedicated his winter months to getting better.
“Going into track that season, I had trained pretty hard that winter to prepare for the spring,” Taylor said. “Cody Solverson (from St. Edmond) and I ran almost everyday during the winter to get ready for track.
“I’m sure there were some days we looked absolutely crazy running in the snow and wind, but it paid off for both of us in that we both had successful state meets that spring.”
Taylor had one of those senior seasons that everyone has dreamed about and he had thought about it since he was a freshman.
“Winning the 1600 and 3200 at state had been a goal of mine since I was a freshman,” Taylor said. “Keep in mind, I was not a good distance runner my first two years of high school. After winning state cross country in 2001, I felt pretty confident about the 1600 and 3200 in the spring of 2002.
“That being said, I knew nothing was guaranteed in distance running and that track practice had to mean something every day if I were to be competitive in those races at the state meet.”
To achieve his goals on the track Taylor put in the time and the work to be a state champion. His effort was noticed by his coaches as they tried to prepare him for success.
“Any success in distance running is the direct result of the level of commitment you have to the sport. If you don’t put in the time, you don’t get results,” Taylor said. “I knew that if I couldn’t get out the door on a consistent basis and put in the miles, I was not going to be happy with the results. Coach (Sam) Moser and Rod Riessen both knew that I needed to work hard to win, but they also knew when I needed to pump the breaks. They gave me a leash to train at a high level, but they also weren’t afraid to tell me when “the hay was in the barn” (a coach Moser quote).
“Coach Jeff Wubbena, the cross country coach at the time, really installed in his athletes the importance of training on a consistent basis. What was really cool during my tenure at FDSH was the fact that we had a group of guys that kept each other accountable during the offseason, which is when the really important, but not very exciting training was done. The class of 2002 had Patrick Blair, Nick Cooper, James Vigneron, Cody Solverson and myself. We made each other better runners and benefited from coaches who preached similar messages.”
To go along with the physical and conditioning nature of distance running, a runner also has to be mentally prepared for the long races.
“You have to be mentally tough to be a distance runner, no matter your ability,” Taylor said. “From a junior varsity runner up to a state champion, there must be a mental fortitude present to start and to finish a race. Distance running is a great equalizer in that we all face the same mental and physical challenges to be the best runner we can be.
“Preparation is also key for distance runners in that if you don’t train properly, either by under or over-training, you will not maximize your potential. Distance running is about having a plan, getting out the door everyday for a run, and being mentally tough on race day.”
Taylor admits on the track there is a different mindset for sprinting and distance running.
“I was never the fastest guy on the track team in terms of sprint speed, that is for sure. Sprinting and distance running are two different beasts,” Taylor said. “Distance running requires the ability to run your body right at a certain threshold for a prolonged period of time. Simply said, the body does not like when you try to maintain a running pace at this threshold. It is uncomfortable.
“Not to say sprinters don’t work hard or experience discomfort when performing at their peak, but the two are almost completely different sports that require different skill sets.”
After competing for the Dodgers, Taylor took his talents to the Iowa State track and field team in Ames.
“I ran at Iowa State during my undergraduate studies,” Taylor said. “College was a different ballgame when compared to high school. I ran against some of the nation’s best distance runners, some of whom competed in the Olympics. I did not have the same type of success on the collegiate level as I did in high school, but nevertheless, I improved my times, was competitive and enjoyed the experience.
“I’ll always be a Cyclone and a Dodger, which is the best combination in my opinion.”
Taylor currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and eight-month old daughter. He is a veterinary epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health.
The FDSH graduate has always enjoyed running and that hasn’t changed as he continues to compete.
“My brother, David, and I still train for marathons on a regular basis,” Taylor said. “We have run the Boston Marathon a few times, along with Chicago and a couple of other marathons. It’s a good way to stay in shape and to still have a competitive outlet.”
Looking back on his career at Fort Dodge, Taylor remembers all the good times and success he had.
“I only have positive memories of high school track and cross country. I will never forget how good victory felt at state meets and the Drake Relays,” Taylor said. “I will also always appreciate the effort it took to achieve those accolades, not only on the individual level, but also with the efforts of others.
“I consider myself fortunate to have the support of my family, coaches, teammates and the community of Fort Dodge throughout my high school athletic career.”
Taylor’s coaches also had a big impact on his success.
“The foundations set by coaches like Sam Moser, Rod Riessen, Matt Miller, Jeff Wubbena, and Joel Greathouse stick with their athletes throughout their lives,” Taylor said. “Kids are better off having participated in high school extracurricular activities as some lifelong lessons are learned there.
“Fort Dodge Senior High has had a plethora of extraordinary teachers and coaches who have had a lasting impact on thousands of students. I am grateful that I come from such a place.”
Individual Champions (37)
1915 long jump Will Paige 20-09.25
1916 220y low hurdles Thomas Rogers 26.0
1918 mile John Monk 4:36.6
1919 4x220y relay 1:36.2
1932 shot put John Whinnery 48-01.50
1937 medley relay 3:44.3
1943 long jump Dick Muhl 21-05.25
1946 120y high hurdles Bob Brown 15.4
1947 120y high hurdles Bob Brown 15.2
1954 120y high hurdles Harry Lockman 15.1
1968 high jump Kent Magnuson 6-04
1969 4x220y relay 1:29.7
1969 medley relay 3:30.3
1970 long jump Mark Chardoulias 22-04.75
1976 high jump Brad Kuhn 6-04
1978 3200m Charlie Mosbrucker 9:30.43
1984 discus Troy Crouse 159-07
1985 discus Troy Crouse 166-04
1986 pole vault Bob Edwards 14-08
1987 pole vault Bob Edwards 15-02
1991 100m WC Eric Pun 21.14
1992 800m Darin Astor 1:54.67
1992 4x400m relay 3:20.19
1992 medley relay 3:31.16
1997 long jump Terry Reiners 22-06.50
1998 200m Quennel McCaleb 21.88
2000 200m Nik Moser 21.88
2000 400m low hurdles Nik Moser 53.20
2001 200m Nik Moser 21.33
2001 400m low hurdles Nik Moser 52.96
2002 1600m Dan Taylor 4:16.72
2002 3200m Dan Taylor 9:19.48
2002 discus Seth Zehr 174-11
2003 110m high hurdles Jordan Crosby 14.35
2003 400m low hurdles Jordan Crosby 52.77
2003 long jump Jordan Crosby 22-06.25
2015 100m Cray Washington 11.24
Indoor Meet Individual Champions (4)
1933 4x440y relay 3:38.6
1967 60y high hurdles Bruce Pressley 7.6
1967 60y low hurdles Bruce Pressley 7.4
1971 long jump Mark Chardoulais 22-07.50
Individual Champions (6)
1975 100y Kim Barnes :11.4
1977 1 mi Anita Ayers 5:11.9
1977 discus Shawn Ritchey 123-1
1978 discus Shawn Ritchey 136-4
1989 long jump Nikki Dillard 17-8
1991 100m Nikki Dillard :12.51