NORWALK — The race was on.
Newton’s junior s Jacob Thomas and Christian Laube were locked in their own little race within the 5K race at Monday’s Norwalk Invitational cross country meet.
Thomas edged out Laube at the finish line in the boys’ varsity race, leading the Cardinals to fourth place as a team with 126 points. Thomas posted a 12th-place time of 17 minutes, 15 seconds and Laube was 13th in 17:16.
Newton’s girls placed fifth with 130 points n the 10-team meet. Sophomore Grace Coen ran under 15 minutes for the 4K. Coen captured second place in 14:59 behind Dowling Catholic senior Karissa Schweizer, who won the race in 14:19.
Dowling Catholic won both the boys’ (25) and girls’ (37) varsity titles, and Pella was second in both divisions. Prairie City-Monroe’s girls placed ninth with 237 points and the PCM boys were 10th with 290. The meet was held at McAninch Sports Complex in Norwalk.
“It was a fun night to watch the boys really work hard and compete. Jacob and Christian earned medals by placing in the top 15,” said Tom Bartello, Newton boys’ head coach. “Chase, Justin Fischer and Justin Simms locked in the fourth place by running in a pack together. Great job last night and we are looking forward to the conference meet next week.”
For the Cardinal boys, Chase Dykstra led a three-man pack, placing 32nd in 19:01. Justin Fischer ran 34th in 19:18, followed by Justin Simms in 35th at 19:23. Josh Ventling placed 48th in 20:01 and Zach Theis was 60th in 20:42.
“We had another strong showing at Norwalk. Grace wanted to stick closer to Karissa Schweizer but she still finished strong and ran under 15 minutes,” said Rachelle Tipton, Newton girls‘ head coach. “Haliey Coy did not finish the race for us because she was feeling sick.”
Autumn Hunt was Newton’s No. 2 runner on the day. Hunt finished 28th in 17:29. Ellie Horn came across the finish line in 31st place in 17:44. Amber Knight took 33rd in 17:53, followed by Anna Barr in 36th at 17:57 and Jordyn Soule in 43rd at 18:10.
“Autumn had another season-best time. She’s really been developing her own race these past few meets and it is paying off,” Tipton said. “Our pack had another great night with Amber running very close to her personal-best time. We are excited for conference next week and look to make some noise and surprise some people.”
In the junior varsity races, the Cardinal boys had one runner and the girls had four runners competing. Jacob Arrowood ran the 5K in 19:55 for 53rd. Michaella Cope was the top runner for the NHS junior varsity girls with a 26th place finish in 18:38 for the 4K race. Sara Cook was 64th in 19:57, Marisa Modlin was 75th in 20:21 and Halie Doland was 90th in 20:48.
FOR PCM, Matt Chizek led the way in the boys’ race with a 27th-place finish in 18:49, Chris Ellens placed 62nd in 20:52 followed by a Mustang pack. Mark Bruxvoort took 66th in 22:55, Trenton Howard was 67th in 22:58, Connor Brey was 68th in 24:50 and Lucas Rains was 69th in 26:23.
The “Rachels” led the Mustang girls. Rachel Stafford ran the 4K in 17:14 for 25th with Rachel Peter in 26th at 17:20. Shelby Palm placed 61st in 21:25 with tammates Amber Beener in 62nd, 23:28, and Kayla Dustin in 63rd, 31:16.
Prairie City-Monroe had runners competing in the middle school races.
Ballard won the girls’ team title with 23 points. PCM’s girls were fifth with 138 points.
Elliie Steenhoek led the PCM middle school girls with a ninth-place finish in 14:42. Baylee Smith was 18th in 15:03. Sara Dudley placed 36th in 16:19, followed by Allison Stafford in 37th in 16:28 and Payton Schutt in 38th at 16:29. Kayleigh Fenton placed 42nd in 17:18 and Caitlyn Walters was 43rd in 17:31.
Brady North paced the Mustang middle school boys, finishing 26th in 14:05. Brendon Vanderpool placed 71st in 15:55 and Jon Heath was 74th in 16:15.