By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
Cody Mertens is a senior at Mt. Pleasant High School and a member of the boys? cross-country team.
Mertens was the eighth-place finisher in the Class 3A state meet last season. He?s also been one of the best long-distance track athletes in Class 3A, finishing top five in both the 3200 and 1600-meter runs at the state meet.
Mertens met with The News on Wednesday after practice. The questions are in bold, with his answers following.
Did you grow up here in Mt. Pleasant? Yep. I was born and raised in this town.
How long have you been running competitively? Freshman year was my first year running for cross-country. Seventh-and eighth-grade was football, and then I realized I was a little small for that, so I transitioned to a runner?s sport.
Did you realize you were going to be good? No, actually it was like two weeks before the season started, and I was running on the track, just for track the next year because I had nothing else to do. Coach Anderson was contacting me and Lamm was saying, ?If you?re not going to do anything, just go do cross-country.? So I went out and did it. First few runs I was getting in shape for track, and I just happened to make varsity, and I?ve loved it ever since.
Do you have plans for after high school? I don?t know if I want to pursue running for college or not, but if I wanted to I was thinking about UNI. I?ve got Logan (Murray) up there, and a bunch of kids I already know. If not, I?m thinking maybe a business or ag degree somewhere. Get an ag degree maybe at Kirkwood.
Does your diet during track and cross-country season differ from the rest of the year? Yeah, definitely! I try to cut out all the fast food. I pack my lunch every day just because I like to, and I usually keep it pretty healthy. But I have cheat days, definitely some candy bars here and there. Nothing too strict, I just try to get my nutrients in.
Do you have a preference between track and cross-country season? I know I?ve placed better in track every year, but I love the fall. The fall is my favorite season, and I love the cross-country season. So with the weather and the season, I?d have to say cross-country is more enjoyable for me at most times. It?s a little different, not just the same 400-meter loop.
If you could go out for a sport that you haven?t played yet in high school, what would it be? If Mt. Pleasant had a lacrosse team, I would definitely do that. I just think it?s cool. It looks like it?s hard, but I think it?d be really fun.
Do you cross-country guys still have the fantasy football league going? We?ve had it the last two years. Actually I made it all the way to the championship game last year.
Who beat you? I can?t remember. It might have been Ben Zihlman, I think. One of the former guys. This year I haven?t done it. We have the same league, but I didn?t join this year.
Who is the one guy that you see you?re playing in fantasy football and you know it?s an easy win? Easy win? Definitely Dalton. Dalton Moyle for sure!
If you could hang out with one celebrity for a day, who would you choose? Who is the guy that plays in the Grand Torino movie? Clint Eastwood! Clint Eastwood for a day would be fun.
What would you guys do? Um, hopefully we?d find that chimpanzee, the Monkey from the movie. And we?d just go hang out and cause some trouble.
What if you could pick a super power for the rest of your life? I?d say, I?m able to snap my finger and just be in whatever location I want to be.
So like teleporting? Yeah, teleporting! Driving takes too long. I don?t have the patience for it!
OK, so let?s say you have the power to teleport right now, where is the first place you?d go? I?d probably say somewhere in Oregon. Around Pre?s trail, and just the places he ran. It?s just really beautiful out there, and it would be really cool to run on the trails that he ran on.
Who has been your favorite teacher? I?d say, Mr. Wagner, definitely. He?s pretty cool. We give each other heck quite a bit, and it?s really fun in his class. I really enjoy it.
Do you have any shout outs? Shout out to my grandma for making me homemade bread all the time, and bringing us over chicken salad and pasta. Just bringing us over all these foods so we don?t have to cook that much. So making us good, awesome food all the time. Shout out to her for that.
Panther Profile is a series of interviews with Mt. Pleasant athletes currently in season. This season will focus on members of the cross-country, football and volleyball teams.