MONROE — Six years ago, Prairie City-Monroe cross country coach Eric Karr had seven total runners in grades seven through 12.
Things are much different these days.
For the third time this season, the PCM girls claimed a team championship. This time, the Mustangs cruised to the title on their home course on a hot night at Gateway Recreation Golf Course.
“Last year we won this meet, and that was a shock,” Karr said. “This year, we knew that if we did what we can do, we should win it. You still have to run the race, and it’s not an easy course.”
All five scoring runners placed in the first 14 positions, three were in the top 10 and the Mustangs scored 45 points in the win. Class 3A Knoxville was second with 85 points.
“It’s always fun to win this meet. It was nice to see everyone so close together and up near the front, too,” said PCM junior Kirstin Ives, who was fourth overall.
The meet was the first since the Mustangs cracked the rankings for the first time this season. And Class 2A No. 13 PCM flexed its muscles in front of its home fans.
The top area girls’ finisher was Colfax-Mingo sophomore Abbey McConeghey, who finished third in 22 minutes, 29.25 seconds. Ives was fourth in 22:32.37 and Lynnville-Sully senior Mary Kate Shaver crossed the finish line in fifth with a time of 22:46.66.
“I really like our course. It’s challenging. And it was hot so it was tough today,” Ives said. “Usually, I try to run with Abbey McConeghey. We have had similar times. I wanted to run with her the best I could.”
After Knoxville in second was Davis County (94), Lynnville-Sully (95), Chariton (113), Colfax-Mingo (129) and Montezuma (131).
The top 25 finishers earned medals Thursday.
PCM’s other medal winners were juniors Megan Townley (ninth) and Paytan Schut (10th), senior Baylee Smith (13th) and sophomore Klaire Jungling (14th).
“If you saw our girls tonight, they didn’t look good physically,” Karr said. “The weather really affected them. But that shows that they are in the right place mentally. They did the best they could today, and there is nothing to be disappointed about.”
Two Lynnville-Sully runners joined Shaver as medal winners. Sophomore Abby Gruver was 17th and freshman Megan Van Zante finished 19th.
In the boys’ race, PCM sophomore Jason Stafford was top area finisher as he crossed the finish line in sixth with a time of 19:24.88. His freshman teammate, Beau Webb, was ninth in 19:32.99.
“I am just trying to get faster. I think working on shorter distances is going to help us in the spots where we need to pick up the pace,” Stafford said. “We are trying to help each other and support each other and hopefully at the end of the year we’ll be at our best.”
Colfax-Mingo junior Cauy Fitch was the only other medal winner. He finished 12th with a time of 19:45.19.
“I think I got out too fast. I am still trying to figure out my pace,” Fitch said. “I need to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We are working on it. It’s getting there.”
Des Moines Christian won the boys’ team title as the Lions had all five of their scoring runners finish in the first eight positions. The Lions won with 19 points.
Pella Christian was second with 66 points followed by Davis County (106), Ankeny Christian Academy (130), Chariton (132), Knoxville (138), PCM (142), Montezuma (175) and Lynnville-Sully (256).
Colfax-Mingo was missing several runners because of its homecoming coronation.
The Tigerhawk girls were without No. 2 runner Ilia Hostetter, and the boys’ team only had four runners total.
In the girls’ race, Shaver leading McConeghey through more than two miles. The Tigerhawk sophomore used a strong finish to take third, and Ives also passed Shaver on the final hill.
McConeghey said she got a little bit of advice from her grandpa Duane Skidmore down the stretch.
“My grandpa said I could out-sprint them in the end so I just did what he said,” McConeghey said. “I was worried for a little bit. I slowed down a lot at the two-mile mark. I usually do that, but I will work on how I approach that.”
Shaver is still trying to get used to running in Iowa. This is her first season at L-S after moving in from the Chicago area.
“I need to work on the hills. The courses in Illinois aren’t nearly as hilly. So kicking it in up a hill isn’t what I am used to,” Shaver said. “That’s something I am still trying to work on and get figured out.
“I am just trying to push myself as hard I can. (McConeghey) is one of the ones that I am trying to run with. She pushed me today. It was much appreciated because this was a hot course, and I needed the motivation.”
The top Lynnville-Sully runner in the boys’ race was senior Josh Dunsbergen, who was 37th.
“I have to get the hills figured out,” Dunsbergen said. “There is too much inconsistency with my times. I don’t think the heat should impact my time but that seems to be the case.”
Here are the complete area results:
PCM — 4. Kirstin Ives, 22:32.37; 9. Megan Townley, 23:49.57; 10. Paytan Schut, 23:51.23; 13. Baylee Smith, 24:16.35; 14. Klaire Jungling, 24:18.07; 39. Ellie Steenhoek, 27:59.50; 82. Maddy Buys, 36:39.20.
Lynnville-Sully — 5. Mary Kate Shaver, 22:46.66; 17. Abby Gruver, 25:15.22; 19. Megan Van Zante, 25:33.69; 32. Christine Nikkel, 26:50.73; 34. Emily Van Gorp, 27:21.17; 35. Haley Breeden, 27:25.12; 37. Abigail Davis, 27:45.22; 40. Brittney Hansen, 28:00.67; 62. Hailey Scandridge, 31:05.29; 70. Hadley Tice, 32:43.60;
Colfax-Mingo — 3. Abbey McConeghey, 22:29.25; 27. Danielle Decker, 26:33.75; 36. Crystal Lincoln, 27:40.04; 38. Delaney Underwood, 27:46.75; 43. Abbey Jones, 28:26.94; 47. Payton Rhone, 29:01.32; 49. Jordan Atwood, 29:33.97; 50. Colbee Cunningham, 29:44.67; 51. Daytin Jones, 29:49.34; 57. Mollie Greve, 30:50.34; 58. Rachel Smith, 30:51.56; 59. Jodine Woods, 30:53.07; 60. Colleen Craig, 30:58.28; 61. Courtney Burdess, 31:01.99; 64. Chelsey Atwood, 31:20.51; 75. Morgan McKinney-McGill, 34:11.97; 76. Chloe Forck, 34:19.65; 83. Miranda McGill, 37:00.73; 88. Mya Bisom, 44:21.25.
PCM — 6. Jason Stafford, 19:24.88; 9. Beau Webb, 19:32.99; 39. Brady Worth, 21:36.09; 43. Cody Courtney, 21:51.13; 53. Jacob Cox, 22:26.48; 59. Caleb Peter, 22:45.61; 60. Brenden Vanderpool, 22:46.30; 62. Ayrton Breckenridge, 22:48.75; 76. Dylan Masterson, 23:21; 81. Carson Clark, 23:45.30; 87. Colton St. Pierre, 24:28.81; 90. Garin Padget, 25:10.77; 96. Cooper VandeLune, 26:14.07; 99. Garrett Graber, 26:28.03; 104. Luke Kramer, 27:07.75; 108. Payton Konek, 28:40.09.
Lynnville-Sully — 37. Josh Dunsbergen, 21:35.70; 54. Joseph Anderson, 22:27.37; 57. Mason Jansen, 22:33.05; 74. Blaize Kuhlmann, 23:11.05; 107. Luke Kramer, 28:08.49.
Colfax-Mingo — 12. Cauy Fitch, 19:45.19; 28. Cyden Fitch, 21:13.54; 67. Michael Loney, 23:04.43; 98. Avery Lees, 26:24.41.