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Local Sports

Newton runners end season at 4A state qualifier

MARSHALLTOWN — Something funny happened on the way to the finish line. Newton High senior Dylan Main had running shoes on his feet at the starting line at Thursday’s Class 4A state qualifying cross country meet. He didn’t have shoes on as he ran the final stretch to the finish line.

Main confessed after the 5K race, he planned on taking off his shoes during the race. It harkened back to a couple years ago on the same course on the Marshalltown Community College campus.

“I had the history of losing the chip on my shoes so a teammate tripled knotted my shoelaces before the race. When the gun went off that same teammate stepped on my shoe and I lost my shoe. I ran a personal-best time without my shoes,” Main said. “I decided to try it today.”

Main said after about the mile and a half mark he kicked off his shoes. He said he tried to run without the shoes.

“I didn’t have the time I wanted. I got sick about 800 meters from the end, fell down then some guy came and tried to help me. He wanted me to walk off the course but I said I had to finish my race,” Main said. “I’m happy I finished.”

Main finished 58th right in front of fellow Newton senior Chad Nolin, who was 59th, in 19 minutes, 52 seconds and 19:54. Junior Adam Hunter and senior Jack Callaghan crossed the finish line together in 18:58 for 49th and 50th, respectively.

Sophomore Luke Zaabel was Newton’s No. 3 runner in the race at Marshalltown. He finished in 19:12. Freshmen Anthony Bestell and Trent Hamand ran 65th and 68th in 21:49 and 22:37.

“With the competition in the race, we were where we wanted to be. There was a lot of quality runners in today’s race. We set a lot of goals at the beginning of the season and we met those goals,” Newton boys’ head coach Steve Weeks said.

Weeks said the Cardinal boys’ ranks were hampered by illness the past week. He said the times were a bit off what they had hope to run but the Marshalltown course is a tough one to compete on.

Newton’s cross country teams did not have any runner qualify for the 2017 Class 4A state cross country meet. The top three teams and top 15 individuals in the girls’ race and in the boys’ race qualify for the state meet.

“I’m proud of the boys today, especially the seniors. Jack ran right up front with Adam, and we had phenomenal finishes by Chad and Dylan,” Weeks said. “Our other senior Blake Robson didn’t run today but was our first alternate runner. He, along with all of our guys, really worked hard over the summer to prepare for this season.”

Weeks said it will be rough losing the four seniors. He said Callaghan, Nolan, Main and Robson have been Weeks’ core for his cross country teams since he was coaching at the middle school level.

The Cardinal boys finished ninth out of 10 teams with 270 points. Ames claimed the top spot for the boys’ division with 47 points followed by Linn-Mar with 52 points and Cedar Rapids Kennedy with 56 points as the three team qualifiers.

“We have a lot of up-and-coming talent with the younger guys, including a good eighth-grade group. We’re just lock and load for next year,” Weeks said.

Newton’s girls scored 215 points for seventh in the field of 10 teams. Des Moines Roosevelt won the girls’ team title with 42 points followed by Urbandale with 52 points and Linn-Mar with 59 points.

“Yes, it is disappointing we didn’t qualify anyone for state, but this was a good finish for our season,” Newton girls’ head coach Rachelle Tipton said. “I figured we’d finish seventh as a team at least. We wound up pretty close to Mason City, which beat us by a wider margin at the Fort Dodge meet this season.”

Freshman Micah Poellet of Linn-Mar ran away from the girls’ field to capture the regional title. She ran the 5K race in 18:30. Urbandale sophomore Payton Marrs won the boys’ individual title with a time of 16:24.

The Cardinal girls were led by juniors Rachel Rhoads and Clare Muckler. Rhoads finished in 31st in 21:43 and Muckler came across the finish line in 33rd in 22:08. Freshman Ashay Malow ran the race in 23:07 for 47th.

“Ashay has a year under her belt and figured out how to run high school races and has the 5K down. Rachel and Clare will have better summers to prepare for next year,” Tipton said. “That spells better things for them and for the team as a whole as they bring our younger runners along with them.”

Senior Tessa Keeton, who has run for the Cardinals for four years, followed Malow across the line in 48th. She ran her final race for Newton in 23:13.

“It’s a little emotional. I ran here my freshman year for districts so I kind of remember it a little,” Keeton said. “It’s sad I’m not going to run with these girls any more. In the past, I felt we usually had one standout person, but this season we have more pack running as a team. It’s not as lonely running up front now.”

Junior Abbie Barr was the final scoring runner for Newton as she placed 56th in 24:11. Freshman Willow Oswalt was 61st in 25:13 and senior Original Tesfay ended her final race in 64th in 25:51.

“Tonight was Tessa and Original’s last cross country race,” Tipton said. “Tessa is a four-year varsity runner. We were lucky to get her new — she didn’t do cross country in middle school — as a freshman. She has brought fun to the team and made sure everyone felt included. Original joined us at the end of last season and with her one race I knew this year would be good. She’s a hard worker. They will be missed next season.”

Tipton said Barr is another junior who has been consistent for Newton. Barr, Rhoads and Muckler provide a strong core of experienced runners for the Cardinal girls in 2018.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or

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