KALONA — Lynnville-Sully High’s cross country teams opened the 2013 season Tuesday at the Iowa Mennonite School Early Bird Invitational.
It was a good day for the Hawks for the most part. The team had a scare during the boys’ varsity race when Nic Lirio passed out on the course. Lirio was transported to a hospital.
“He is doing well and recovering,” Lynnville-Sully head coach Darin Arkema said.
“We had a strong showing from our athletes on the first night of competition. We did not have everybody race tonight, as some just need another week of training prior to competition. However, the performances from those who raced were an excellent starting point for the season,” he said.
The top performance of the meet for the Hawks came from senior Alexa Vander Leest in the varsity girls’ 4K race. Vander Leest earned the ninth-place medal in running the distance in 17 minutes, 10 seconds. Classmate Tara Vos was 17th in 17:54.
Junior Cori Rice placed 25th in 18:37 and senior Karli Roozeboom was 30th in 19:12. All four are returning runners who went to the 1A state meet last year. Alexis Hardenbrook, a freshman, placed 61st in 21:53.
“Placing four in the top 30 out of 84 runners really helped us take sixth place as a team. Every team that finished above us was a 2A, 3A or 4A school,” Arkema said. “Many of these girls had faster times than previous years on this course, which is a good sign of things to come for the season.”
Only three boys ran in the varsity race for Lynnville-Sully and with Lirio’s mishap, two finished. Sophomore Canyon Kuhlmann ran 25th, finishing the 5K race in 19:25. Junior Kordell Mueller placed 69th in 26:45.
“Canyon and Kordell each were faster than last year, and significantly faster than the time trial we did in practice two weeks ago. I know they are anxious for the next meet to have more teammates joining them,” Arkema said.
Three newcomers to cross country ran in the girls’ junior varsity race for the Hawks. Line Ascanius was 36th in 20:54 followed by Elizabeth Van Manen in 42nd at 21:09 and Kristy Seveik was 48th in 21:41.
Arkema said the trio proved capable of racing well, all finishing in the top half of competitors. Improvement will come with experience, he said, so he is looking forward to seeing their development.
Lynnville-Sully competes in Saturday’s Central College Dutch Invitational in Pella.