QUINCY -- Fiker Rosen already has put himself as one of the best runners to run in the QND Running Raider Invitational.
It won't be long before he cements himself as the best.
Rosen, a freshman on the Quincy High School boys cross country team, won the 17th annual race Tuesday afternoon at Quincy's South Park in 16 minutes, 2 seconds. He was 36 seconds faster than West Hancock freshman Miles Sheppard and 57 seconds faster than Clark County junior Nathan Frazee.
Rosen's time was just six seconds off the meet record set by Decatur MacArthur's Michael Clevenger, who won the 2010 race in 15:56. Clevenger also won the 2011 race in 15:57, and Liberty's Eric Obert won the 2004 race in 16:00.
"I was shooting for under 15 minutes," said Rosen, who won the middle school races at South Park the last two years. "It's an extra mile and longer. When I run, I just try to go faster and tire others out in the first mile."
Rosen showed that immediately as he pulled away from the pack with Sheppard and Frazee, and by the first mile, the race became a three-person race.
Rosen and Sheppard pulled away from Frazee just past the halfway point. Rosen was on his own in the final mile as he came down the chute.
"He just had a lot more energy than me and is faster," Sheppard said. "I kind of got boxed in at the beginning and that took some seconds."
"Yeah, he's pretty good," Frazee said with a smirk.
Running away from the field is Rosen's goal.
"I like doing that, because if you don't get out in front, you take energy trying to catch up," Rosen said. "If you're the leader, you can go faster and tire the others out. You make them catch you."
QHS coach Matt McClelland is aware of the expectations around Rosen, but he's seen him handle them "beautifully."
"The big thing is we don't talk about what people are saying," McClelland said. "We just go with a race plan, and he goes out there and does it."
QHS's Noah Fleer took fifth in 17:28, and Jacob Spooner was 13th in 18:00 to help the Blue Devils finish second with 91 points. Pleasant Plains won the title with 66 points.
Liberty's Cannen Wolf finished 15th in 18:04.
Pleasant Plains 66, Quincy 91, Kirksville 102, Macomb 133, Moberly 182, Troy Buchanan 188, Centralia 203, Clark County 203, QND 238, Palmyra 239, West Hancock 274, Bowling Green 296, Clopton 340, Riverton 365, Highland 372, Monmouth-Roseville 380, Springfield Lutheran 421, Beardstown 424, Unity 486
Top 20 Individuals
Fiker Rosen, Quincy, 16:02
Miles Sheppard, West Hancock, 16:38
Nathan Frazee, Clark County, 16:59
Steven Melin, Pleasant Plains, 17:15
Noah Fleer, Quincy, 17:28
Braden Moore, Pleasant Plains, 17:30
Alex Fincher, Moberly, 17:33
Evan Aubuchon, Kirksville, 17:34
Donovan Denslow, Clopton, 17:45
Otis Sanders, Pleasant Plains, 17:47
Brody Orf, Troy Buchanan, 17:47
Nolon Carter, Kirksville, 17:57
Jacob Spooner, Quincy, 18:00
Luke Wilmes, Troy Buchanan, 18:04
Cannen Wolf, Liberty, 18:04
Kerem Tasdan, Macomb, 18:08
Dakota Shepler, Macomb, 18:10
Corbyn Harper, Clark County, 18:15
Kevin Dortch, Kirksville, 18:22
Ayden Triplett, Quincy, 18:25