On a picture-perfect fall day — it was a bit windy — all eight schools of the Little Hawkeye Conference converged on Newton’s Westwood Golf Course. Newton High’s Cardinals hosted the 2017 Little Hawkeye Conference cross country championships on Monday.
There was plenty of sunshine during most of the races. Some cloud cover emerged just as the varsity boys’ 5 K began and the temperature dipped a bit, but it was good day to run.
“This is a tougher course for the end of the season. The meet was about getting out and competing, but it was also exciting to see the time drops from our meet in September,” Newton girls’ head coach Rachelle Tipton said.
Newton’s Cardinals were running on their home course for the second time this season. The Cardinal girls finished in a tie with Oskaloosa with 153 points, lost the tiebreaker and took sixth. Newton’s boys were seventh with 184 points in their division.
With three ranked Class 3A teams in the LHC field for the girls’ division, No. 11 Pella snared its second straight conference cross country championship with 41 points. Eighth-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes was second with 59 points followed by Indianola with 62 points and 10th-ranked Grinnell with 80 points.
“The girls put forth a good effort today,” Tipton said. “We came up a bit short of holding fifth by ourselves, but I know they gave their all. We will keep working the next week and half and then go see what we can do at state qualifying.”
Norwalk finished seventh with 168 points. Pella Christian did not field a full girls’ varsity team.
Class 3A top-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes places six runners in the top 12 places in pulling away for a the boys’ division championship. The Mustangs had 40 points to oust last year’s champion Indianola, which was second with 49 points.
The boys’ division also had three Class 3A ranked teams competing. Grinnell, which is ranked 12th, scored 71 points for third and 11th-ranked Oskaloosa was fourth with 104 points. Pella placed fifth with 123 points followed by Pella Christian in sixth with 175 points, Newton and Norwalk was eighth with 206 points.
Grinnell claimed both individual LHC championships. The top 15 runners in each varsity race received medal and all-conference honors.
Sophomore Mary Blanchard, ranked No. 2 in 3A, established a strong lead and never gave it up, running the 5K course in 19 minutes 26.1 seconds followed by Class 4A No. 8 Grace Berg, a senior from Indiaonla, in second at 20:13.5.
Class 3A ninth-ranked Thomas Clower, a Grinnell senior, rolled through the race with a 16:49 time. DCG’s 11th-ranked senior Jacob Waymire was second in 17:06.1.
Newton’s girls were paced by freshman Ashay Malow and junior Clare Muckler. Malow ran the race in 22:03 for 22nd place and Muckler’s time was 22:05.6 for 24th. Junior Rachel Rhoads ended up 33rd in 23:04.9.
Tessa Keeton was one of seven Newton senior runners competing on the Westwood course for the final time in their careers. Keeton was 40th in the varsity race in 24:03.6 and junior Abbie Barr placed 41st in 24:16.6.
Also running the varsity girls’ race was freshman Willow Oswalt in 26:04.4 for 49th and sophomore Jenna Smith in 26:23.7 for 50th.
Newton junior Adam Hunter was running strong in the front pack early in the race. He was the Cardinals’ No. 1 runner at the conference meet, running the 5K course in 18:26.8.
The Cardinals had a four-runner pack led by senior Jack Callaghan in 37th with a time of 19:38.8. Senior Chad Nolin edged out sophomore Luke Zaabel for 40th and 41st, respectively, in 19:50.3 and 19:51.2. Dylan Main, another senior, was 43rd in 19:58.3.
Freshman Anthony Bestell finished 53rd in 21:47.7 for Newton. Blake Robson, a senior, was 54th in 23:33.5.
Dallas Center-Grimes won both team titles at the junior varsity level. Newton’s boys were seventh and the girls were sixth.
The Newton boys’ junior varsity was led by freshman Trent Hamand in 22:58.8 for 95th. Sophomore Noah Cook was 114th in 24:18.5 and freshman Dakota Gooden was 115th in 24:20.5. Sophomores Addison Dunwell and Izaak Miller were 118th and 140th, respectively, in 24:28.5 and 31:36.8.
Seniors Original Tesfay and Jordan Banfield were the top runners for the girls’ junior varsity squad on Monday. Tesfay took 38th in 25:52.8 and Banfield was 55th in 27:18.2.
“Jordan is another senior who saw her last meet for us. It was great having her join this year and to see her work with and push her teammates. The work put in this fall is going to pay off for her sports in the spring,” Tipton said.
Tes Schuster, a sophomore, placed 60th in 27:44.1. Sophomore Jillian Waits was 83rd in 31:53.7 and freshman Abigail Adkison was 84th in 32:13.2 Sophomore Sadie Steinbach ran 88th in 42:23.
“It’s hard to believe the season is over for the junior varsity team. It’s always nice to end the season on best times, but no two courses are the same,” Tipton said. “The times the team ran today, and how they competed with those around them, showed the progress made throughout the season. I am proud of how far they came from August and, for most, can’t wait to see where they go next year.”
Newton’s varsity runners await to find out where they will run for the Class 4A state qualifying meet. The assignments are expected out sometime this week for the meets slated for Oct. 19.
The Newton Berg Middle School boys challenged for the LHC title. They finished second to Indianola by five points, 62-67. The middle school girls were sixth with 140 points as DCG won the division title with 26 points.
Treycen Garton, an eighth-grader, led the Newton boys with a ninth-place finish in the 2-mile race in 12:59.3. The boys placed five in the top 20 finishers. The Newton girls were led by eighth-grader Lauren Zaabel in 15:07 for 14th place.
Here are the Newton middle school results from the LHC meet:
Middle School Cross Country
14. Lauren Zaabel, 8, 15:07.4
17. Grace Benson, 8, 15:15.4
30. Morgan Stalzer, 8, 16:06.1
39. Kelsey Church, 8, 16:22.5
60. Kate Muckler, 7, 17:12.6
86. Zoie Danks, 8, 18:54.6
97. Heather Perry, 8, 19:34.3
99. Kathryn Van Manen, 8, 19:39.2
101. Skyler Gooden, 7, 19:44.1
106. Amor Hilburn, 8, 20:28.4
125. Keila Seu, 7, 24:15.1
9. Treycen Garton, 8, 12:59.3
12. Brennan Amos, 8, 13:24.1
13. Hunter Kennedy, 8, 13:24.7
15. Emmanual Roy, 8, 13:29.0
18. Derek Beiner, 8, 13:42.2
21. Ryan Nook, 8, 13:51.5
22. Jared Smith, 7, 13:53.7
70. Collin Buchli, 7, 15:39.6
72. Caden Menninga, 7, 15:47.0
76. Keyten Doland, 7, 15:58.1
100. Brody Fuller, 7, 17:23.0
109. Jacob Nichols, 7, 17:54.0