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Conference weeks begin Monday

Published: Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 10:13 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 10:15 a.m. CDT

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Monday signals a run on conference athletic events for Newton and area high school fall sports teams. The five high schools the Newton Daily News covers are in four different conferences — Little Hawkeye, Heart of Iowa, South Iowa Cedar League and Iowa Star.

All four conferences will hold cross country meets next week. There will be volleyball tournament play in two conferences. The NCMP Aquagirls will compete in not one, but two conference meets at the end of next week.

Newton hosts the 2017 Little Hawkeye Conference cross country meet for middle school and high school teams on Monday. Middle school, high school junior varsity and high school varsity races — six in all — will run on the Westwood Golf Course, starting at 4 p.m.

Newton High’s cross country head coaches Rachelle Tipton and Steve Weeks were happy with the way their runners responded in a talent-filled race Thursday at Fort Dodge’s Lakeside Golf Course, the site of the state meets.

The Cardinal girls had quality runs from their top seven competitors on Thursday at Fort Dodge. State-qualifier Rachel Rhoads, a junior, has freshman Ashay Malow and junior Clare Muckler pushing their way into the top running packs of late. Newton has seniors Tessa Keeton and Orginal Tesfay, union Abbie Barr and freshman Willow Oswalt running well as the season gets to conference and then district races.

Junior Adam Hunter has been the leader of the pack for Newton’s boys this season. Sophomore Luke Zaabel and seniors Dylan Main and Chad Nolin had strong runs at Fort Dodge. No word on if senior Jack Callaghan, who has been hampered by injuries this season, will be healthy enough to run at the LHC meet Monday. Freshman Anthony Bestell and senior Blake Robson are among the varsity runners for the Cardinals.

“The way Adam has been improving this season has us eying a sub-17-minute race for him. There is a bit of a gap behind him, but places 2-5 have been very solid between Luke, Dylan, Jack and Chad,” Weeks said. “My goal as coach is to continue to push them out of their comfort zone and try to pass the person who had been traditionally ahead of them.”

There are three ranked boys’ teams and three ranked girls’ teams — all in Class 3A — in the LHC. Dallas Center-Grimes’ boys are No. 1 in 3A. The varsity races will feature four ranked individuals in the two divisions.

Also on Monday in the Heart of Iowa Conference cross country meet at South Hamilton. Prairie City-Monroe’s girls are ranked sixth in Class 2A as the Mustang teams compete for the HOIC titles.

On Thursday, Colfax-Mingo and Lynnville-Sully cross country teams run in the SICL meet hosted by Colfax-Mingo in Colfax. Baxter’s girls are ranked 13th in Class 1A and the Bolts’ boys will compete on Thursday in the Iowa Star Conference meet at Wartburg.

The SICL volleyball teams play in a conference two-part meet starting on Tuesday and finishing on Thursday. Lynnville-Sully is at Belle Plaine on Tuesday and Colfax-Mingo is at Iowa Valley.

Newton’s Cardinal volleyball team competes in the second annual Little Hawkeye Conference volleyball tournament on Thursday. Matches start at 4:30 p.m. at Norwalk High School.

The NCMP girls’ swim team is in the second annual LHC swim meet on Oct. 17. The Aquagirls are out to defend their conference title at Indianola. Then they swim in the North Central Iowa Conference meet on Oct. 21 at Decorah.

So, you see the Newton Daily News sports staff will have all that plus regular-season sports to round up in the next week or so. It’s full steam ahead on the prep sports scene in Jasper County.

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