LYNNVILLE — Greenlee Smock’s South Iowa Cedar League cross country championship last season may have surprised some people.
This season, the Lynnville-Sully sophomore came into the meet with a top 10 state ranking.
Whether Smock was the favorite or a surprise, the end result was the same.
Class 1A No. 7 Smock ran her race despite two other runners setting the early pace and then rallied for a win when she passed Montezuma’s Elise Boulton in the final 800 meters on her home course at Diamond Trail Golf Club.
“It feels really good. I feel like my summer miles have paid off,” Smock said. “I had a strategy going in, but I let it go out the door a little bit. I tried to just run my race. I didn’t know what to expect. My strategy was to start out slower and maybe be faster in my second and third miles.”
It was the first time L-S hosted the SICL meet since 2013.
Smock’s win helped Lynnville-Sully’s girls place second in the team race for the fourth straight season. Boulton finished second in the girls’ 5K race, but Montezuma was the team champion.
Smock’s winning time was 20 minutes, 38.23 seconds. Boulton was second in 20:55.5.
L-S senior Caitlin Alberts made a strong surge in the final mile and finished third in 22:02.72. It was the third career all-conference honor for Alberts.
Smock wasn’t too concerned about the pace early. She just continued to run her race.
“They are running their race and I am running my race,” Smock said of Boulton and BGM’s Hannah Gus. “In the end, the better runner is probably going to win anyway.”
Gus ran up front with Boulton for the first mile and a half. Alberts passed Gus in the final mile. Gus wound up fourth and Montezuma’s Mia Boulton finished fifth.
The top five finishers earned first-team all-conference recognition. The next five were second-teamers and honorable mention went to 11th and 12th.
The Hawk girls had three all-conference runners as Megan Van Zante was ninth. It was the fourth career all-conference honor for Van Zante.
“While we are consistently battling for the top spot, we need to find a way to get over the hump and win one,” L-S coach Darin Arkema said.
In the boys’ race, Lynnville-Sully’s James Gruver, Zach Morningstar and Gentry Walston and Colfax-Mingo’s Noah Strohmeyer and Carter Gibson were all all-conference runners.
Gruver led the way from the area in fifth with a time of 18:55. Morningstar, Strohmeyer and Walston were each second-team all-conference in eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively. Gibson placed 11th to earn honorable mention recognition.
North Mahaska won the boys’ team title with 45 points. Montezuma was next with 58 followed by Colfax-Mingo (76), Lynnville-Sully (80) and Belle Plaine (89).
The Tigerhawks were the reigning conference champions but did not have top runner Max VanDusseldorp due to injury.
“While our goal to start the season was to repeat as conference champions on the boys side, I felt like we gave everything we had tonight,” Colfax-Mingo coach Zach Tomas said. “We had some kids that had season and career bests and you can’t ask for much more.”
Montezuma’s girls won the team title with 31 points after placing all seven varsity runners in the top 22. L-S had its five scoring runners in the top 20 and scored 42 points.
BGM (58) finished third followed by English Valleys (106), Colfax-Mingo (141) and Iowa Valley (143).
Van Zante’s ninth-place finish was clocked at 23:32.3. That was 40 seconds faster than she ran on this same course during the Hawks’ home meet in September.
The final two scoring runners were Kinsley Tice (25:00.81) in 15th and Callista Hackert (26:12.46) in 19th. Brooke Conover (32:30.57) finished 35th.
Tice dropped 58 seconds from the home meet earlier this season, while Hackert was nearly four minutes faster.
The C-M girls were without one of its top runners in Joslyn Chadwick. Daytin Chadwick led the way in 26th with a time of 28:21.95. Felicity Woods (30:15.25) was 32nd, Kirsten Frier (31:12.3) finished 33rd and Maggie Schroeder (32:49.21) was 36th.
Brennan Rhone (34:43.6) was 39th and Elayna Creech (34:45.09) placed 40th.
Frier and Woods were both faster on this course this year than they were on it last season.
“We were without one of our two top runners and still finished in the top five as a team,” Tomas said. “It was one of our top team finishes for the girls this season. I was very proud of our kids’ efforts tonight.”
Morningstar’s time in eighth place in the boys’ race was clocked at a career-best 19:17.16 and Walston was 10th in 19:29.63. Evan Fikse (25:13.43) placed 42nd and Luke Farrell (26:41.35) finished 44th.
The Hawks were third despite missing its lone senior Mason Jansen. Walston ran under 20 minutes for the first time this season.
“The guys placing fourth, only four points out of third, without our third or fourth best runner is a great job by them,” Arkema said. “I would have loved to see where Mason would have fit in and how we could have scored as a team with him racing.”
Strohmeyer was ninth in 19:17.39. Carter Gibson placed 11th in 19:31.14 and the final three counting scorers were A.J. Gibson (21:14.42) in 22nd, Avery Lees (21:28.61) in 23rd and Coleman Craig (21:46.75) in 24th.
John McGill finished 26th with a career-best time of 21:59. Mason Edwards came in 30th in 22:34.95.
Colfax-Mingo was the only boys’ team to place all seven varsity runners in the top 30. Strohmeyer, Carter Gibson, Lees and Edwards all were faster on this course this year than they were on it last year.
Class 1A No. 30 Bryson Grove of English Valleys won the boys’ 5K race in 17:22.17.
Both Colfax-Mingo and Lynnville-Sully compete in a 1A state qualifier at ACGC High School at 4 p.m. on Thursday in Guthrie Center.