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Male Area Athlete of the Week: S-M’s Tabbat runs personal best in state meet

S-M junior earns male area athlete of the week.

Issiah Tabbat
Staples-Motley's Issiah Tabbat runs in the Class 1A State cross-country meet Saturday, Nov. 5, at St. Olaf College.
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It was an all-state performance for Issiah Tabbat at state.

The Staples-Motley junior finished 14th in the Class 1A state cross-country meet with a time of 16:37.7 at St. Olaf College last week. The top 25 are named all-state.

“My mindset was just focused,” Tabbat said. “Leading up to it we went down a couple of days before, so that gave us some extra cushion to be down there and not have to deal with the bus ride. The two days leading up to the race was just visualizing the turns and corners and how to take them. Then when it was time to race it was about putting everything I thought about in play and running loose. I knew in this race I wanted to leave it all out there and have no regrets.”

As a team, the Cardinals finished sixth at the state meet with Tabbat as their top runner.

"(Tabbat) is a hard worker and he put his priorities in order and he ran hard,” S-M head coach Bruce Fuhrman said. “He is a great leader for the team because when Issiah runs well everyone else runs well. He notably runs well at a state meet. It’s his third one in a row that he’s really shined at. To finish where he did was expected because he’s a really good runner.”

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Tabbat improved on his time at state last year where he ran a 16:49.08. Last year, Class 1A was not as deep and he finished ninth with the Cardinals placing fifth.

“It wasn’t about the fact that he didn’t place as high,” Fuhrman said. “He has another year, so it will be exciting to see him lead this team by himself.”

This year was Tabbat’s third year racing at the state meet. As an eighth grader in 2019, he finished 119th.

“Knowing the course is nice,” Tabbat said. “I’ve raced it three times for state and every year we go down for the showcase race. Knowing where everything was and having the course all memorized definitely is the helpful part.”

There was no state meet when he was a freshman in 2020 and he finished fifth in the Section 6-1A meet to help the Cardinals capture the section title.

Tabbat’s time at state this year was also a personal best for him.

“I was very content with how I ran,” he said. “I ended up running up the final hill, seeing my time and just powering through. I knew it was the best race I could’ve run that day. It was very fulfilling.”

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Tabbat opened the season with a third-place finish in the Central Minnesota River Run with a time of 17:27.6.

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After finishing 84th in the St. Olaf Showcase, he slashed his time down in both the Dragon Twilight Invite and the Lucky Lindy Invite, both top 25 finishes.

In the Roy Griak Invite at the University of Minnesota, Tabbat helped the Cardinals finish 47th in the Gold Race out of 55 schools.

His lone win came in the Cardinal Invite Oct. 3 where he raced in 17:31.7 at the Vintage at Staples. At the same course for the Section 6-1A Championships, he finished fifth in 16:54.2 which helped the Cardinals win the section title.

“I think his improvements this year came from the small changes we made in his running cadence,” Fuhman said. “Just talking about his arm lift going down a little deeper with a little bit of a shorter stride and a few more steps per mile. That is where the biggest improvements came from working on his form. He spent a lot of time in the offseason and during the season just perfecting that.”

His best time besides his state meet time was at the Mid-State Conference where he finished fifth in 16:39.3 which helped S-M earn the conference title.

As a junior, Tabbat will be back next year. It's something both he and Fuhrman are excited about.

“He spends a lot of time with the younger runners and they look up to him,” Fuhrman said. “He talks with them in the offseason and he’s one of these kids that has a lot of good values. Just a top-shelf kid. I think if anything he brings that to the team and he loves the team concept.”

Tabbat added: “Coming into next year it will involve a lot of offseason prep. I know what I have to do to improve, so I can be even further up. A lot of it will be done in the offseason and maintaining it into next season. Then I will have track which will help me get into next season. I’m trying to look at it as another season to improve instead of my last season. But I’m looking forward to next season already.”

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Other notable performances:

]Cross-Country: Eli Hall, Pequot Lakes, earned all-state honors in the Class 2A race.

Football: Grant Loge, Pequot Lakes, two touchdown runs against Esko in the Section Final.

Issiah Tabbat

Year: Junior

School: Staples-Motley

Sport: Cross-Country

Highlights: He ran in 16:37.7 in the Class 1A state meet to earn all-state honors in 14th place.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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