ROCK SPRINGS – The dominant Iowa Central Community College cross-country and track programs just got a little bit better.
Shaunti Longfellow, a senior at Rock Springs High School, signed her national letter of intent earlier this month to continue her running career in Fort Dodge, Iowa, with the Tritons.
Longfellow made her decision because of the academic programs Iowa Central has to offer, which includes a dental hygienist program – a career she became passionate about while job shadowing at local dental offices.
“In the end, it’s about the career I’m going to be having. Obviously, I’m not going to go pro or anything like that so it ultimately came down to the career I want to have. I decided Iowa Central was right and it was the best offer I had for scholarships too,” Longfellow said.
“I was in the health academy at the high school and we got to job shadow. I had the opportunity to go to a few of the dentist office around here, like Aspen Dental Center and Harmon Family Dental, and I just loved it. I loved job shadowing there. I loved learning about it and it just really interested me, so that was the career I wanted to pursue in college.”
Longfellow is decorated runner, earning top-five5 finishes at the state championships in both indoor and outdoor track during her high school career.
She placed second at the indoor track championships in the 4x200 meter relay in 2019 and 2020, placed second in the 1600 sprint medley relay in 2019 and placed second in the 4x400 meter relay in 2018.
In outdoor track, she placed second in the 1,600 sprint medley relay 2019 and second in the 4x800 meter relay in 2018.
As a junior, she had her best finish individually in the 800 meters, placing fourth.
She also placed fifth in the 1,600 meters her sophomore year.
Over the last four years, Longfellow said she has learned a lot about herself to become a better runner and competitor.
“I’ve grown to work harder and set higher goals for myself. I’ve just like gotten a lot more mature with things like that, which has helped me become a better runner and become the best that I can,” she said.
Some the personal goals she has given herself is to improve her personal record (PR) at each meet and always placing at the state meet.
“I’ve always liked getting medals and I’ve always wanted to earn medals. I get really upset with myself when I don’t place in the top eight, so that’s usually my goal,” she said. “I’m extremely competitive. It’s always at the state meet too. Something just switches and I just go full on and get extremely competitive.”
In college, Longfellow plans on running the 5K in cross-country and she said her main event in track will be the 800 meter.
Her personal best in the 5K is 19 minutes flat, she said. Her best time in the 800 meter was two minutes and 23 seconds.
“I was really determined to get out of the 2:20s this season, but I wasn’t able to have the chance,” she said.
Longfellow has been staying busy, however, preparing for her first collegiate season by doing workouts her new coaches have been sending her.
“My coaches have been sending mileage that I need to get in each day, like hills and ab workouts I have to do. I have to put in about 25 miles each week, so I’ve just been running and getting the distance in for my cross-country season so I have my endurance,” she said.
She has to report to Iowa Central in late July for the team’s cross-country camp.
She joins a Triton cross-country program that has won five national championships in the last 13 years. The track program has been dominant as well. In indoor track, the Tritons have won six of the last 10 national titles and the outdoor track team has one three in the last seven years.
Longfellow entertained offers from Colorado Mesa University, Montana State University, West Texas A&M University, Southwest Minnesota State University and many more.
She has fond memories of her time at Rock Springs High School, but her favorite is the time she spent with friends and teammates.
“My favorite memories were just all the fun I had with my friends and playing sports. Each year has been so fun – even running in the freezing cold weather,” Longfellow said.
“Just being with my teammates and friends, like I’ve made so many memories and I’m so happy I chose to run cross-country my sophomore year and I learned about track and continued with it my four years of high school.