Pair of area teams state bound
SOLON — Iowa Mennonite, WACO, Washington, Highland, Keota, Columbus and Mid-Prairie raced at districts, Thursday, with a chance to move on to the girls’ and boys’ state cross-country meet, Saturday, Nov. 2, at Fort Dodge.
The top 10 individual times and the top three team scores advanced to state from each district site.
Washington was led by senior Austin Latcham’s 64th-place time of 19:011 — his second best time of the season. The Demons finished in 12th place.
The girls’ team was paced by sophomore Emme Keith’s 30th-place time of 16:35 — her best time this year.
“Definitely, we have two or three people who will be able to (compete at state next year),” said head coach Steve Roth. “My team was really young this year. We were very pleased with the way they came around.”
Freshman Mariah Howard placed 59th with a time of 18:04 — the second best time of her first season.
“We didn’t run very good last year,” Roth said. “I was upset with myself; I didn’t have them ready. We talked this week about running our best times and we had two or three that did. It is a steppingstone for us toward next year.”
The Demons took 12th place.
In Ottumwa, Highland junior Evan Mahler paced his team with a first-place finish at 16:10, six seconds ahead of second place.
Sophomore Keiffer Sexton moves on to state, placing fifth with a time of 16:25.
The second-place team score was 71 points, 14 behind Wapello.
The girls were led by junior Amber Bean’s 41st-place finish with a mark of 17:48 in the 3K. The girls did not have a team score.
IMS junior standout Kirby Shetler had a time of 16 minutes and 43 seconds in the 5K with one spot to spare at ninth place.
“His ninth-place finish is three places better than he finished last year,” said IMS head coach Marty Gingerich. “This is Shetler’s best race yet.”
IMS didn’t have a team score.
On the girls’ side, junior Renee Buckwalter led her team with a 21st-place finish with a time of 16:35. She was 11 places away from state qualification. The team finished in 13th place.
The WACO girls’ team was led by sophomore Cheyenne Sedlacek with a time of 18:29 and 55th-place finish. WACO didn’t have enough runners to have a team score.
The Keota girls’ side was paced by junior Madison Sieren’s 77th placement and time of 19:19. The Eagles didn’t post a team score.
In Tipton, the Mid-Prairie boys’ team garnered third place with 92 points, five away from second.
“The boys’ team qualified for state for the second year in a row, and they did it the way they’ve succeeded all season,” said head coach Mark Hostetler. “They ran patiently the first mile, then moved up steadily through the pack, running and finishing close together.”
The Hawks had three runners place in the top 20 but none in the top 10. Sophomore Ryan Errthum took home 11th place with a time of 17:52.
Junior Jared Draper came in 13th with a time of 18:02. Senior Ty Feigenspan was 14th with a mark of 18:03.
On the girls’ side, freshman Abby Tornow continues to have a solid first season with an eighth-place finish in 16:27.
“We are really proud of her accomplishment; she has led the team all season and is a hard-working and dedicated young athlete who really deserves the honor of running at state,” Hostetler said.
Sophomore Maddi Zahradnek came in 16th with a time of 17:17. Sophomore Beth Chmelar placed 19th in 17:34.
The Golden Hawks missed out on advancing to state as a team by 13 points.
“It’s really heartbreaking to see them come up one place short of a trip to state,” Hostetler said. “Every girl on the team gave everything they had, with nearly every one of them posting a career-best time, and that’s all a coach can ever ask for.”
Columbus sophomore Josh Keller advanced to state with a ninth-place time of 17:48.
“Josh ran a smart, competitive race, but he always does,” said head coach Steve Riley. “He has come such a long way this year. Last year as a freshman, he was 59th in this meet, so he improved 50 places.”
The boys’ team finished in eighth place with senior Efrain Barajas rounding out the Wildcats’ top 20 finishers in 17th place at 18:13.
Senior Taylor Hills wrapped up her final season with a 15th-place finish and time of 17:14. The Wildcats took home seventh place.