Collins-Maxwell/Baxter High School had an incredibly successful cross country season in 2012, and it came on the backs of two individuals in particular. Seniors Hayley Leonard and Aaron Ward were two of the best distance runners in the Heart of Iowa Conference last season.
Leonard showcased her abilities at both the HOI Championships and the Class 2A District meet at Panorama. At the HOI Championships, Leonard placed seventh overall in the girls’ 4,000-meter run with a time of 16 minutes, 38.85 seconds. She shaved off nearly a full second for the meet at Panorama, finishing third with a time of 16:38.00. She carried that momentum to a 21st place finish at the Iowa State Championships.
Ward also ran his best under the bright lights. His time of 18:32.71 at the HOI Championships placed him 12th in the boys’ 5,000, and he posted a remarkable time of 18:15.00 at the Panorama meet. Ward took 46th in the state meet, as well.
“Those two are going to be tough to replace,” CMB coach Jerry Meinerts said. “It’s going to be a tough void for us to fill. Those two were great leaders, and they put up very good number.”
Although the Raiders will miss these two stellar competitors, there is plenty to be excited about this season.
Returning for the Raiders will be sophomore Chasity Moody, who brings plenty of experience in her own right. Moody placed 69th at the state championships as a freshman.
“Chasity Moody is probably the one I’m expecting the most from this year,” Meinerts said. “She had a really good freshman year and was anywhere from our second to our fourth best runner every meet. Chantel Maxwell, Mackenzie Klemme and Stephanie Twohey have all done a good job this summer of running and staying in shape. They should all have solid seasons as well.”
Also returning for CMB will be junior runner Mark Deutsch. Deutsch placed 20th at the HOI championships in his sophomore season with a respectable time of 19:08.27. He will look to make some strides toward the top of the conference as a junior in 2013.
“Mark is our best runner coming back,” Meinerts said. “He was just behind Aaron Ward last season as far as our top runners goes, but we have some good young runners as well. Calvin Jones, in particular, is a freshman coming in that I’m expecting some good things out of this year. He ran well in junior high. Obviously, it’s a big jump that he’s going to have to make, but I think he’s going to be very good for us.”