OTTUMWA — Mary Kate Shaver has put her stamp on her only cross country season for Lynnville-Sully. Shaver, a senior, captured a berth in the 2017 Iowa Class 1A cross country state meet in taking 15th in Thursday’s 1A state qualifying meet.
Lynnville-Sully’s girls and boys competed in the 1A state qualifying meet at Wildwood Park in Ottumwa. Shaver, whose family moved to the Lynnville-Sully school district over the summer from Glen Elyn, Ill., was the lone Hawk runner to qualify for the state meet.
Shaver posted a time of 22 minutes, 19 seconds for the 5K race on Thursday securing the final individual girls’ state berth from the meet. She led the Hawk girls to a fifth-place finish as a team in he 11-team field.
Lynnville-Sully’s boys took 15th as a team in the state qualifying meet. The top three teams and top 15 individual finishers for each state qualifying meet for boys and girls advance to the 1A state meet.
“Both races had a load of talent and we knew that coming in. The girls’ race had some of the top teams and individuals in the state. I was proud of the girls for how they responded, getting out in the race and in position to challenge other teams and themselves,” Lynnville-Sully head coach Darin Arkema said.
Hudson won the girls’ team championship with 46 points. Denver was second with 62 points followed by Pekin with 79 points. GMG finished fourth with 113 and Lynnville-Sully scored 128 points for fifth in front of South Iowa Cedar League rival Colfax-Mingo, which was sixth with 143 points.
In the boys’ division, Pekin claimed the team title with 67 points and Hudson was second with 77 points. Denver took third with 122 points. Lynnville-Sully scored 288 points for 15th.
The girls’ individual champion was Hudson’s Jenna Twait. The top five runners fit into a tight time frame with Twait winning in 20:31 and the fifth-runner finishing in 20:57.
“Mary Kate was in the group of top 10-15 runners from the first 400 meters of the race on. She understood what it was going to take to make that top 15 and get to state. With 400 meters to go she was in 15th and a girl giving chase not far back,” Arkema said.
“I told her that nobody gets by her as she looked me in the eye and gave it all she had all the way into the finish line. What a great moment for her in her first and last season at Lynnville-Sully to be a state qualifier. She did give all of us a bit of a scare a few minutes after the race as she was overcome by the heat and passed out. Thanks to some quick thinking by our parents and a few other strangers they got ice and water around her to cool her down and revive her.”
Freshman Megan Van Zante was the Hawks’ No. 2 runner in the race finishing 20th in 23:13 followed by sophomore Abby Gruver in 35that 24:13. Junior Emily Van Gorp placed 41st in 24:57 and Abigail Davis, a sophomore, took 43rd in 25:03.
Senior Christine Nikkel ran her final race for the Hawks and finished 45 th in 25:11. Also running a final race for Lynnville-Sully was senior Haley Breeden as she placed 55th in 26:08.
Arkema said Van Zante ran well pushing relentlessly against the top opponents and the course. He said Gruver, Van Gorp, Davis and Nikkel were the difference makers in beating Colfax-Mingo after finishing behind the Tigerhawks in the SICL meet.
Senior Josh Dunsbergen finished out his career for Lynnville-Sully with a strong race on Thursday. Dunsbergen ran two years for the Hawks. He posted a time of 19:37 for 40th Don Bosco’s Zach Nie won the boys’ title, running the 5K course in 16:57.
The rest of the Hawk boy runners were first-time cross country competitors this season. Lynnville-Sully junior Joseph Anderson took 52nd in 20:33 followed by freshman Mason Jansen in 58th at 20:48, sophomore Blaize Kuhlmann in 76th at 21:47 and freshman Luke Kramer in 111th a 24:15.
“I cannot say enough about how Josh has been there as a leader for our team the last two years. He showed up everyday to practice and did the work, and pushed himself and the others around him to get better. I would love to have two more seasons with Josh as I only got him as a junior and senior, and he was beginning to understand himself and his capabilities as a runner,” Arkema said.
Arkema said Anderson equaled his season’s best time and Jansen ran one of his fastest times of the season with a hard kick the final 100 meters of the race. Kuhlmann and Kramer used a strategy to run within striking distance of Anderson and Jansen, Arkema said, which pushed them to run faster times.
“All of those guys who could be returning next year learned a tremendous amount this season. They all could be so much better next season by getting the full summer training in. They need to see their potential as individual runners and as a team and show just how improved and good they can be next year,” Arkema said.
Shaver will compete in the Iowa Class 1A girls’ state race on Oct. 28 at Fort Dodge. The 1A girls’ 5K race is slated for 2 p.m. at Lakeside Golf Course.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at 641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or email@example.com