Issiah Tabbat has learned a lot from those who have run before him.

The Staples-Motley sophomore won the Mid-State Conference meet last week in 16:54.6 claiming a title owned by his former teammate Emmet Anderson the previous four seasons.

Tabbat still keeps in contact with Anderson, who now runs for the University of Minnesota.

“He and I stay in very good touch and he’s always nice and there to talk about races,” Tabbat said. “He gives a lot of motivation and encouragement. He’s always there to tell me to keep looking forward.”

Staples-Motley head coach Bruce Fuhrman said he sees a lot of the same qualities in Tabbat that Anderson showed.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

“He’s got great leadership skills,” Fuhrman said. “He’s kept this team focused. When you lose a stellar runner like we had last year in Emmet you think you’ve lost a lot of things, but I think he’s determined to keep this team motivated.”

Last week, Tabbat mentioned the weather was really nice at Lakeview Golf Course in Detroit Lakes which helped him capture the conference title.

“It was chillier than the past couple of weeks which was kind of refreshing,” he said. “During that race, the course was pretty flat and what was going through my mind was I just wanted to see how fast of a time I could get.”

Tabbat was neck and neck with Pequot Lakes’ Eli Hall who finished four seconds behind Tabbat in second.

“I knew that Issiah would win that,” Fuhrman said. “At the end of the season last year, he had a personal best and it kind of motivated him to step up and want more. And we’ve had some meets that have been very hard for him to get good times because we’ve been running a lot of hills, but now that he’s on more flat courses his confidence continues to grow and he’s really confident in his ability.”

Fuhrman said the Detroit Lakes course took out the hills that are normally there for the conference meet.

“They call them the ‘Hills of Disappointment,’” Fuhrman said. “They took them out and what happened was (Tabbat) was able to run a confident tempo the whole race which helped him have a really good kick at the end.”

Before a race, Tabbat’s mindset is to leave it all out on the course.

“I don’t want to have any regrets after the meet,” he said. “I’ll say a prayer real quick and just leave it all out there. Team motivation helps with that.”

Where Tabbat feels he’s improved the most as a runner is being able to kick it into gear midrace.

“In past years, I haven’t had that,” he said. “The drive midrace and the determination to finish is something I’ve improved on.”

Fuhrman added: “I’d say he’s improved the most with his middle splits. He runs a faster mile than he used to in a race and he always seems to have enough. He can actually run a negative split in the last mile.”

A negative split means Tabbat’s last mile is faster than his first mile.

“He has the demeanor, the confidence and makes everyone welcome,” Fuhrman said. “He’s stepping up and doing his part as the lead position. His confidence has really, really grown and I know he got a lot of that from Emmet (Anderson).”

Other notable performances:
Football: Gideon Ervasti, Verndale, rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
Dilan Orlando, Verndale, threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 7-for-13 passing and rushed for 47 yards on nine carries.
Ethan Lodge, Pine River-Backus, rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
Cullen Kratochvil, Pequot Lakes, caught eight passes for 100 yards.
Quintin Laveau, Pillager, rushed for 105 yards on 23 carries.
Cross Country: Ethan Kowalczyk, Pierz, won the Royalton meet in 18:02.1.

Issiah Tabbat

Year: Sophomore

School: Staples-Motley

Sport: Cross-Country

Highlights: He won the Mid-State Conference meet in 16:54.6.