COLFAX — Prairie City-Monroe cross country coach Eric Karr is happy with the way his top two boys runners are progressing during the early stages of the season.
Karr expected junior Jason Stafford and sophomore Beau Webb to once again lead his deep roster, and they haven’t disappointed.
On Monday, in a meet that was scheduled to help counter several canceled meets last week, Stafford and Webb both claimed top-10 finishes to lead the Mustangs to a fourth-place finish at the Tigerhawk Cross Country Invitational at Colfax Country Club.
Stafford was the top runner for the second straight meet, and his seventh-place medal helped the Mustangs score 141 points on the night. Webb ended up 10th as the top 10 finishers earned medals.
“Jason and Beau ran really well again. They ran close to their times at Iowa State, and this was a much tougher course,” Karr said. “When you run a course like this and aren’t physically struggling afterward, it’s a good sign.”
Stafford’s seventh-place finish was clocked at 19 minutes, 22 seconds. Webb was eight seconds behind in 10th.
Ogden put three runners in the top 10 and won the meet with 57 points. Saydel was next at 84, followed by Mount Ayr at 89.
PCM (141) was four points better than fifth-place Martensdale-St. Marys (145).
Central Decatur (150), Southeast Warren (153), host Colfax-Mingo (175), Collins-Maxwell (184) and Interstate 35 (220) rounded out the 10-team field.
Lynnville-Sully and Melcher-Dallas also competed but did not have complete teams.
After Stafford and Webb, the next best area finisher was Colfax-Mingo senior Cauy Fitch, who finished 23rd with a time of 20:30. Tigerhawk junior Hunter Green was next in 30th with a time of 21:06.
“Hunter Green is a huge find for us,” Colfax-Mingo co-head coach Jake Crouse said. “He started on the first day of school. He had some success in track and we were able to move him over to cross country.”
Crouse likes his Tigerhawk boys team, but several runners were running for the first time or are still working their way into shape.
Junior Noah Strohmeyer is someone Crouse and C-M co-head coach Zach Tomas thought could be one of the top runners on the team, but Monday was his first meet of the season after dealing with shin splints and an illness in the first two competitions.
“Our boys can be really competitive. We don’t have as much depth as last year, but we are better as a team for sure,” Crouse said.
PCM’s other scoring runners included junior Ayrton Breckenridge, sophomore Garin Padget and junior Cooper Vandelune. Breckenridge was 39th with a time of 22:06, Padget ended up 47th in 22:48 and Vandelune was just ahead of a pair of teammates in 51st with a time of 23:00.
Freshman Kyle Sanders was 52nd, senior Carson Clark was 53rd and the trio of sophomore Cody Courtney, senior Cade McCombs and sophomore Dylan Masterson were 58th, 59th and 60th, respectively.
Karr expects Stafford and Webb to be up front all season. They may go back and forth in the standings, but he hopes they feed off each other.
“I just want them to continue using each other as we move through the season,” Karr said.
Lynnville-Sully’s only male runner is sophomore Mason Jansen. He finished 43rd on the night with a time of 22:31.
“Mason made up a lot of places in the second and third miles,” Lynnville-Sully coach Darin Arkema said. “He had an outstanding final kick in the last 150 meters to pass three places.”
After Fitch and Green for the Tigerhawks were freshman Coleman Craig, junior Cyden Fitch and Strohmeyer. Craig finished in 42nd with a time of 22:26, Cyden Fitch was 44th in 22:31 and Strohmeyer’s first official 5K of the season was clocked at 22:52 as he finished 48th.
The rest of the Tigerhawks included sophomore A.J. Gibson in 57th and sophomore Avery Lees in 75th.
Colfax-Mingo runs at Lynnville-Sully’s annual meet at Diamond Trail Golf Course at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in Lynnville. PCM competes at 5 p.m. Thursday in Pleasantville.