FORT DODGE — Running on the state-meet course in a field of ranked Class 4A teams, Newton High’s cross country athletes competed in a good precursor of the 2017 Class 4A state meet later this month.
The Cardinal cross country teams ran in Thursday’s Fort Dodge Invitational at Fort Dodge’s Lakeside Golf Course. The Lakeside Golf Course is the established site of the Iowa high school state cross country meets, which are Oct. 28.
There were six ranked Class 4A teams in both the varsity girls’ and boys’ races, which each had 19 teams competing. The boys’ race featured 10 of the top 20 4A teams.
Fort Dodge moved the varsity races to contested first Thursday because of weather concerns. The very large junior varsity races — 439 in the girls’ race and 611 runners in the boys’ race — followed.
“The weather cooperated with us and not only did the races get in, but we took advantage of the cool weather, great competition and state course,” Newton girls’ head coach Rachelle Tipton said. “Nearly all runners had personal or season best times. I am proud of how we pushed ourselves and never gave up.”
Top-ranked 4A Johnston’s girls used a 1-2-3 individual finish to claim a resounding team victory with 45 points. Waukee, ranked No. 7, ran second with 89 points and third-ranked Dowling was third with 97 points.
Newton’s girls scored 426 points for 14th. The Newton boys scored 524 points to place 16th in their division.
Class 4A second-ranked Johnston beat top-ranked Dowling for the boys’ team championship, 57 points to 88 points. Sixth-ranked West Des Moines Valley was third with 116 points.
Johnston’s girls were paced by seventh-ranked Jessica McKee, a senior, winning the 5 K race in 18 minutes, 17.8 seconds. Sophomores Paige Horner and Brooke McKee were second and third, respectively, in 18:19.6 and 18:35.7.
Freshman Ashay Malow and sophomore Clare Muckler led Newton’s girls at Fort Dodge. Malow edged Muckler as they went 72nd and 73rd in a field of 135 runners. Malow’s time was 21:18.3 and Muckler crossed in 21:18.5.
Junior Rachel Rhoads ran 82nd in 21:35.4. Senior Tessa Keeton finished 105th in 22:48.2 and junior Abbie Barr was 107th in 22:51.1, to round out the scoring spots for the Cardinals. Senior Original Tesfay took 123rd n 24:16.4 and freshman Willow Oswalt was 128th in 24:54.1.
Malow, Tesfay an Oswalt had personal-best times in the meet while Muckler, Keeton and Barr each posted season’s-best times.
“Tessa and Abbie had another great race and pushed each other to pass people and reach new packs of runners. It was good to see Abbie drop to be in the 22:00s,” Tipton said. “Original had a huge break through tonight. She had been running consistent times the past few meets and was ready to see that drop.”
In the boy’s race, 4A second-ranked Tim Sindt, a junior from Ankeny, claimed the top finish in 15:13.8 for the 5K course. Ankeny Centennial senior Camden Cox, ranked No. 10, was second in1 5:20.9 and top-ranked Matthew Carmody, senior from Dowling, was third in 15:22.2.
“Overall, the weather allowed for a great meet. Everyone dropped their times and many felt they could have run better if the meet wasn’t so full,” Newton boys’ head coach Steve Weeks said.
Junior Adam Hunter continues to lead the Cardinal boys, taking 75th in a field 136 runners in 17:41.7. Sophomore Luke Zaabel ran 105th in 18:45.8 and senior Dylan Main was 108th in 18:54.9.
Senior Chad Nolin placed 117th in 19:31.4 and freshman Anthony Bestell took 130th in 21:06.7. Blake Robson, a senior, was 136th in 22:01.3.
In the boys’ junior varsity race, sophomore Noah Cook finished 525th in 23:14.9, freshman Dakota Gooden was 541st in 23:42.2 and sophomore Addison Dunwell was 555th in 24:05.9.
Newton had a full team competing in the girls’ junior varsity race. The Cardinal girls were 16th with 488 points.
Senior Liz McVey was the top runner for the Newton junior varsity taking 268th in 25:37.6 followed by sophomore Jenna Smith in 274th in 24:42.4. Senior Jordan Banfield placed 284th in 24:49.4.
Sophomores Tes Schuster and Jillian Waits were 328th and 419th, respectively, in 26:48.2 and 31:33. Senior Bethany Risius was 435th in 35:51.8 and sophomore Sadie Steinbach was 438th in 40:38.
“Liz had her last race for us and it was an excellent way to go out. She made some good moves toward the end of the race and had a tough finish that gave her a personal best time,” Tipton said. “I am glad that we had Liz the last two years and we will miss her hard work and how she pushed those around her to improve with her.”
Other Cardinal girls with personal-best times were Banfield, Schuster, Waits and Risius. Smith had a season’s-best time.
Now, the Cardinal runners turn their focus to the 2017 Little Hawkeye Conference meet, which is Monday at Newton’s Westwood Golf Course. Races begin at 4 p.m.
“We now gear up for our home conference meet, which is always a stacked race with some of the best teams in different classes,” Weeks said. “It will be our last junior varsity meet, and those who finish on varsity will qualify for our district meet.”
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at 641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or email@example.com