OTTUMWA — On a day that implied the rapidly approaching start of winter with a majority of athletes scrambling for ways to stay warm, four area cross country runners heated up and ran their best.
Colfax-Mingo’s Daktoa Hostetter, along with Lynnville-Sully runners Alexa Vander Leest, Tara Vos and Canyon Kuhlmann all put up top-10 finishes at the State Qualifying Meet at Wildwood Park in Ottumwa, keeping their seasons alive for one more day. Vos and Vander Leest led a pack of strong-finishing Hawk girls to a team berth, as well.
Hostetter finished in fourth place in the Class 1A qualifying, running a time of 15 minutes, 21 seconds. The fourth-place finish extends what has already been a banner freshman season for Hostetter, who was understandable winded but excited by her performance in frigid condtions.
“I feel pretty good, tired but pretty good,” she said. “I run better when it’s cold. I don’t really like hot weather. It’s easier to run to get warm for me as opposed to running when it’s already hot, because at that point, there’s nothing you can do to cool down.”
Finishing two spots behind Hostetter was Vos in sixth place. Vos’ time of 15:22 means she will get the chance to cap off her long-distance career as a Hawk with back-to-back years at the state meet.
“This feels great. I’m so glad I was able to do this senior year,” Vos said. “The race was very tough, but I had someone next to me to push me the whole time, and that made it easier.”
Vos, like Hostetter, preferred the chilled weather, which she said it kept her from getting drained quickly. Vos’ teammate, Vander Leest, placed eighth, which means there will be two L-S girls rocking the gold and powder blue for the Hawks on Nov. 2. Vander Leest ran a time of 15:36.
Vander Leest moved up steadily in the second half of the race, earning a qualifying spot in just her freshman year. She was one of four Hawks in the top-20.
“Alexa has had this goal since coming in as a freshman but injuries the previous few years have kept that from happening,” coach Darin Arkema said. “I know she is relieved to finally reach the accomplishment in her senior season. Her second half of the race tonight was blistering fast as she moved up 10-12 spots.”
Those two were the head of the class for the second-place Hawks. Pekin was far and away the best team at the meet with 36 points, but Lynnville-Sully’s 74 were 48 clear of third-place Durant, and Arkema could not have been prouder.
“I am so proud of the efforts tonight from each individual who raced in a Lynnville-Sully uniform tonight,” he said. “Congratulations to the girls’ team on their second place finish and berth to compete at the state meet next weekend. This will make three out of the last four years the girls’ team has been state qualifiers. The girls knew there would be teams who would challenge them, but I felt like their confidence has grown stronger the last few weeks and were relaxed to have a good race.”
Also running impressive races for L-S were Cori Rice and Karli Roozeboom. Rice placed 13th in 16:04 and Rozeboom was 16th at 16:15. The two top-20 finishes, along with the top-10s from Vos and Vander Leest propelled the team into second place. Elizabeth Van Manen was 36th in 17:32. Kasiah Ehresman ran a 17:39 to place 38th. Line Ascanius was 44th in 17:51.
“I felt coming in that if Cori and Karli could both finish inside the top 20 that are chances as a team were going to be pretty good. They were battling the whole race to keep themselves near the front couple groups and bring home finishes in the teens. Lizzy made up her mind early on that she was going to race at a fast pace, and Kasiah and Line answered the challenged to race with her. I got all three of them to the finish line in great times and places to help our team score,” Arkema said.
Kuhlman ran his 5k in 16:47, placing him 10th and sending him to State as well. Afterward, Arkema commented on how much improvement Kuhlman has made over the course of the season.
“Canyon put himself into a great spot early in the race near the back of a pack of 8-10 guys who separated themselves from the rest of the field,” he said of Kuhlman’s race. “Had he held back, it would have been tough for him to get up in that mix later in the race. He put trust in all the miles and training he had done and chanced the pace with about a quarter mile to go, rather than waiting until the very end. He was able to break away a bit and then use a finishing kick to place in the top ten and become a first time state qualifier.”
Colfax-Mingo’s girls finished in fourth place with 151 points. Apart from the run by Dakota Hostetter to send her to state, the Tigerhawks had personal-best times out of Kenzie Cogley, Donita Fatland and Iva Moore. Kennedi Hostetter was the second-highest finisher at 25th with a time of 16:46. Moore placed right behind her in 27th at 17:05. Cogley’s time of 18:24 placed her 51st. Fatland was 66th in 18:58. Cassie Craig was 108th in 21:23. Breawna Schroder placed 108th in 21:23.
Colfax-Mingo’s boys placed 15th out of the 17 teams, but Jimmy Abell, Ahn Hyeongyeop, KC Huffman, Ryan McLan and Chris Stuva showed off with personal-best times. Stuva placed 78th, running the 5K in 19:21. McLain’s time of 20:44 put him 104th overall. Huffman was 115th at 21:24. Abell was the top finishing Tigerhawk boy, placing just outside the top-50 at 18:37. Hyeongyeop placed 98th at 20:12. Cameron Lantry was 112th at 21:17. Will Dunsbergen’s time of 24:38 placed her 133rd.
“I could not be happier with our performances tonight from both the boys and girls,” coach Zach Tomas said. “This was our best night of the year and it came on the night we prepared for all year. The boys finished 15th of 17 scoring teams and the girls narrowly missed a state birth finishing 4th out of 9 scoring teams. Tonight was a major step in the progression of our program for both the boys and girls. We will certainly miss these great seniors and their leadership but they have put the program in a great spot moving forward.”
Kuhlman headlined Lynnville-Sully’s boys. Behind him was a slew of Hawk runners that allowed L-S to finish eighth overall as a team with 208 points. Ben Trettin placed 34th in 17:50. Talon Woods was 47th in 18:20. Jake Brand’s tme of 18:52 was good for 65th. Luke Jones’ time of 19:26 placed him 79th. Nic Lirio placed 84th at 19:40. Jim Trettin was 101st in 20:22.
“It seemed as though everyone of the guys was out head hunting for somebody in a BGM uniform,” Arkema said. “The desire to beat BGM helped them pass and beat so many other runners besides the kids from BGM. Ben ran a smart race and looked strong in the latter stages of the race. Talon used a tremendous sprint at the end to hold off some other hard charging finishers. Jake did a great job of using the one big downhill to his advantage both times. Luke and Nic kept pretty tight together throughout the race and both had enough burst of speed to get away from the other guys they were racing. Jim had a solid race and time as a freshman in his first state qualifying meet.”
The qualifying top-10 finishers, as well as the entire L-S girls squad will compete at the state meet in Fort Dodge next Saturday, Nov. 2.
“We are looking forward to an exciting week leading up to the state meet for Canyon and the Girls’ Team,” Arkema said. “I know those senior girls want to finish with a bang, and will have some good experiences to share as we prepare for the races Saturday. It’s only fitting to have such a great season finish with a group of HAWKS competing at the state meet. I know that all of them are capable of great performances in Fort Dodge.”