Hawks defend home course with pair of titles
WELLMAN — The Mid-Prairie boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams had first-place team scores at the Golden Hawk Invitational, Tuesday, at the Wellman Golf Course.
The field included Highland and Iowa Mennonite.
The boys’ squad averaged a time of 18 minutes and 29 seconds while scoring 34 points, 19 points ahead of Highland, even with the team not being at full strength.
“The boys’ team, we had one guy missing, senior Zeb Schwartz,” said head coach Mark Hostetler. “He has been a fourth or fifth runner.”
Sophomore Ryan Errthum set the pace with third place and a time of 17:48 in the 5K.
Junior Jared Draper followed him in fourth place with a time of 17:59.
“Our first two guys ran really well,” Hostetler said.
Freshman Andrew Schwartz, sophomore Cade Miller and senior Ty Feigenspan rounded out the top-10 with eighth- through 10th-place finishes. Schwartz had a mark of 18:38, Miller 18:56 and Feigenspan 19:07.
With a home field advantage, Hostetler noticed a slight edge from his team.
“Throughout both races, I noticed they were running a little extra hard because it is a home meet,” Hostetler said. “It was good to see some of the football team and volleyball girls here. We normally wouldn’t see them at other meets.”
Senior Evan Wild came in 16th with a time of 19:58.
The girls’ team took the top spot with 18 points to spare. Its average time on the 4K was 17:46.
Freshman Abby Tornow continues her fine form in her first season. She was a runner-up with a mark of 16:42.
Sophomore Hannah Van Roekel took fourth place with a time of 17:40.
Sophomores Beth Chmelar and Maddi Zahradnek came in seventh and eighth, respectively. Chmelar had a time of 18:06, Zahradnek finished in 18:07.
Freshman Calli Shaw came in 11th with a time of 18:16. Freshman Greta Schmidt finished 16th with a time of 18:51.
Senior Grace Chmelar came in 21st in 19:48.
The Highland boys’ team had a second place finish, 33 points ahead of Wilton.
“I thought today was a really great race for us,” said Highland head coach Angela Strobel. “It was a beautiful day, everyone did well and I’m really proud of them.”
Junior Evan Mahler was the boys’ division champion with a time of 17:33.
“I think it was about 30 seconds faster (than last year),” Strobel said. “He is really focused this year. He has some good goals for himself. This is all on his path to get to state.”
Mahler, now an upperclassman, has the size and experience to compete at a higher level.
“I’m a year older and bigger,” Mahler said. “I’m getting stronger at cross-country.
Mahler got ahead of the pack early and kept the lead the rest of the way.
“I got out there and kept on going,” Mahler said. “You got to speed up when they try and speed up. You got to keep them behind you.”
Sophomore Keiffer Sexton gave the Huskies another top-10 runner with a time of 18:29 after finishing sixth.
Freshman Caleb Brase finished 11th with a mark of 19:11. Senior Josh Brase had a time of 19:28 for 15th place.
Senior Austin McCarthy came in 21st with a time of 20:35.
The Huskies’ girls’ team didn’t have enough runners to post a team score.
Freshman Breanna Popham was the only runner to finish in the top-20, placing 19th with a time of 19:46.
Iowa Mennonite was the final local team participating in the Invite.
The boys’ team finished in fifth place. Junior Kirby Shetler, who finished sixth in 18:18, led the team.
“We did pretty well,” said IMS head coach Marty Gingerich. “Kirby ran a good, hard race. He put himself out there. He had a good pace on the first two miles but wasn’t able to sustain it on the last.”
Shetler had personal best time at the Wellman course.
“I’m going to guess that he was 20 seconds faster than last year,” Gingerich said. “I was projecting a little faster today.”
Junior Renee Buckwalter led the girls’ side with a fifth-place finish in 17:58.
“Renee wasn’t quite what we were hoping for time,” Gingerich. “The second mile she slowed. She was working pretty hard.”