VAN WERT — For a long time, Anna’s Hayden Schmidt and Lima Perry’s Brady Yingst have been very close friends.
They attend the same church and usually do long Sunday runs together.
At Saturday’s Van Wert Health Invitational, the two buddies found themselves competing on the 5,000-meter cross country course that traverses around the hospital grounds and on one of the reservoirs.
It was a competitive race between Yingst and Schmidt on Saturday. The two friends made it a two-man race right from the start.
In the end, it was Schmidt pulling away for the win in a time of 16 minutes, 17.7 seconds. Yingst was close behind in 16:21.5.
Yingst led through the first mile.
However, before the second mile, Schmidt pulled up beside Yingst.
Then, in the last 400 meters, Schmidt made a move and came away with the victory.
“We’re friends, so we run together every Sunday,” Schmidt said. “We’re going to go to church tomorrow and then run like six or seven miles afterward.
“We were talking about the race all last week. I know he (Yingst) likes to go out fast. … He’s a lot faster guy. I was going to let him do his first mile, and then I was going to try to catch up with him in that second (mile), because he went around 4:45 in that first mile. … I was at 4:55. So, I ran my race. I knew we would come together. I knew in the end it was going to be him and I battling it out,” Schmidt said.
Besides having a passion for running, Yingst and Schmidt also share the distinction of having twin brothers.
Ryan Yingst, Brady’s twin, plays quarterback on Perry’s football team, while Hunter Schmidt, Hayden’s twin, plays running back for Anna. The Yingst brothers also play basketball.
Saturday’s loss was the first one on the season for Yingst.
“We train together every weekend. We go out and do some long runs,” Yingst said. “He’s one of my best friends. It’s the first race that I’ve lost all season, but I don’t mind losing to him. He’s really fast and really talented.”
Yingst and Schmidt even acknowledged each other during Saturday’s race with a fist bump, while running the second loop on the course.
Yingst said Saturday’s times weren’t personal bests for either one of them. However, he felt like they pushed each other the entire time.
“Going up the reservoir twice, is hard,” Yingst said. “It’s a different course. I was pushed a little harder than I have all season. Even though the times were slower, we definitely got a lot out of each other.”
In the boys final team scores Saturday, Van Wert slipped past Columbus Grove, 56-59. Anna finished third (85), while Lima Shawnee (134) and Lincolnview (139) rounded out the top five squads in a field of 16 full teams.
In the girls race, Anna took first place with 62 points. Delphos St. John’s was second (97). Van Wert (103), Shawnee (121) and Columbus Grove (133) rounded out the top five teams in a field of 12 full squads.