Demon harriers suffer frustrating end to the season
ANAMOSA — Following Thursday night’s Class 3A state-qualifying meet at Jones County Park in Anamosa, Washington head cross-country coach Steve Roth was frustrated.
Not with his team, but with himself.
For the fifth straight season, Washington failed to qualify a runner for the state cross-country meet.
“I’m looking for them to run their best at the end, but we haven’t done that for the last couple of years,” said Roth, who is in his second season as Washington’s cross-country coach. “I’ve got to take the blame. I feel like I can get them to a different level, and I didn’t. That bothers me. They tried like crazy last night, but they didn’t have it. And I don’t know why they didn’t have it.”
Washington’s girls’ cross-country team finished 11th out of 11 teams at the meet. Sophomore Stephanie Loy finished 63rd in 20:09 to lead the Demons, and senior Mariah Reighard was 65th in 20:15. Sophomore Jennie Greene came in 67th in 21 minutes flat, and senior Kaitlin Buchholz crossed the finish line 11 seconds later in 69th place. Senior Sarah Conwell’s 71st-place finish in 21:13 rounded out the scoring. Sophomore Sarah Greiner finished 72nd in 21:14, and senior Maddie Bohr was 73rd in 21:48.
Only three Washington runners competed in the boys’ race. Junior Noah Lebsack finished 68th in 20:13, and junior Austin Latcham was 76th in 21:19. Senior Logan Moeller came in 84th in 22:20.
Even though Thursday’s meet was rainy and cold, Roth expected better performances from his runners after having good workouts leading up to the meet.
“We had an outstanding workout on Monday, and I thought we were on pace to have a couple of people step up,” he said. “The girls should be running in the low 18s and 17s, and the boys should be running in the 18s. They did earlier in the year. But we just didn’t look like the same team we looked like earlier in the year. I know it was a bad day, but I felt like I haven’t found that last piece of the puzzle to get them to the next level.”
The Demons were running against some very stiff competition. There were four ranked boys’ teams and two ranked girls’ teams at the meet. Third-ranked Davenport Assumption won the girls’ title, while fourth-ranked Solon took second. No. 11 Mount Vernon-Lisbon won the boys’ title, while No. 13 Cedar Rapids Xavier took second and No. 12 Fort Madison finished third.
“The competition was outstanding, but I have a couple of kids who can run with those kids,” Roth said. “They showed it early in the season. The kids have talent. I think it’s mental.”
Roth will lose five of those talented runners — Moeller, Reighard, Buchholz, Conwell and Bohr — to graduation.
“They had great attitudes all year,” Roth said. “They were a fun bunch to coach all year. I’m going to miss those five seniors. They were great leaders. I just feel like I’ve cheated them because I couldn’t get them to the next level.”