A total of 16 Jasper County athletes took part in Saturday's state cross country meet in Fort Dodge, with the vast majority representing Lynnville-Sully or Collins-Maxwell-Baxter.
The Hawks and Raiders each qualified their girls' teams for the meet, while CMB also brought along an individual on the boys' side.
For Lynnville-Sully, it was its second time at state in three years, and the Hawks took 10th place in the 1A meet out of 15 teams with 232 points. Griswold won the meet with 86 points.
"The state meet is where you hope your season ends each year, so for our girls to have that opportunity was such a tremendous honor," L-S coach Darin Arkema said.
The Hawks were led by Tara Vos, who completed a breakthrough junior season by placing 37th in 16 minutes and three seconds. She was the ninth individual qualifier out of the Marshalltown district meet last Monday, but was the fourth-best finisher out of that district on Saturday. Finishing second for L-S was sophomore Cori Rice in 16:22 — good for 52nd overall. Junior Alexa Vander Leest took 64th in 16:45 in what was only her fourth race of the season. Junior Karli Roozeboom finished 70th in a season-best 16:54, while sophomore Madison Rasmusson — who played in the Hawks' regional volleyball game in Tama the night before — dropped a whopping 30 seconds off her personal best and finished 111th in 18:13 as the team's fifth scorer. The meet was the second-ever for L-S freshman Shelby Foster, who improved her personal best by 10 seconds while finishing 119th in 19:06.
Knowing that all six runners return next year, Arkema knows the sky is the limit for his team in 2013.
“Just moments after the race was finished — well before we knew any results — I was already having conversations with parents and others about how this group doesn’t graduate anyone and what the possibilities might be for next season,” he said. “I know there is some tremendous talent, great attitude and hard workers in this group.”
The Raider runners admittedly didn’t hit some of their goals on Saturday, but they were still more than content with ending their seasons, and some careers, with a trip to state.
CMB’s girls finished 13th out of 15 teams, 56 points ahead of conference rival South Hamilton, while senior Aaron Ward took 46th running as an individual in the boy’s race.
Just like the regular season, senior Hayley Leonard led the Raider girls with a time of 16:06, which was the third-fastest time in CMB’s history at state. Coming in next was fellow senior Anne Deutsch, whose 64th-place finish in 16:41 placed her 10th overall in the Raiders’ record books.
“What an amazing season our girls have had,” CMB coach Jerry Meinerts said. “I’m very proud of how far these girls have come in the past season. I know our girls would have liked to finish a lot higher in the team standings, but we ran some amazing times at the state meet, and no one can take that away from them.”
Freshmen Chasity Moody and Stephanie Twohey fought through some apparent butterflies at the beginning of the race to take 70th (16:49) and 82nd (17:02), respectively. In between them was senior Kayla Hennick, who ran just her second 16-minute time of the season to finish 77th in 16:57. Rounding out the field for the Raiders were sophomore Chantel Maxwell (102nd, 17:49) and junior Mackenzie Klemme (123rd, 18:57).
The CMB girls weren’t the only ones to make a mark in the record books, as Ward’s finish of 17:13 put him at the eighth-best finish for a Raider boys’ finish at state. Although he fell a little short of his target time, he and Meinerts were glad that Ward could finish his career running at the highest level.
“This kid left it all out there this weekend,” Meinerts said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him. Aaron is one of those kids that would run 24 hours a day if that would guarantee him a spot at state.”