COLFAX — Treycen Garton is used to running with teammate Jackson Mace-Maynard and having someone to help him with pace during his 5K races.
On Thursday, Garton was the one setting the pace during the Colfax-Mingo Cross Country Invitational.
Mace-Maynard was gone on a college visit to West Point so Garton prepared himself to be the one running well ahead of the field.
“I tried to get myself going on the bus ride over. We knew we wouldn’t have a bunch of fans near us during most of the race. You have to find a way to provide your own energy,” Garton said. “I was trying to find my own pace. Usually I’m running with Jackson and others who are up front. Today, I was the front runner so I was just trying to feel my pace. I wanted to be uncomfortable but still stay within my range.”
Garton set a new season-best time in winning the boys’ 5K race. But without Class 3A No. 27 Mace-Maynard and a few other runners, the 3A No. 20 Cardinals had to settle for second in the team race.
Garton won the individual race in 17 minutes, 9 seconds, but North Mahaska put its five scoring runners in the top 14 positions and won the team title with 44 points.
Newton placed its five scoring runners in the top 22 and claimed second with 58 points.
The 12-team field included host Colfax-Mingo and Baxter, who were sixth and 12th, respectively.
Collins-Maxwell (100) was well back of Newton in third, while Grand View Christian (129) and Clarke (147) rounded out the top five. The Tigerhawks had 167 in sixth and Baxter scored 277 in 12th.
“We had great times from almost everybody,” Newton boys cross country coach Steve Weeks said. “Most of the guys came to me talking about how good their run felt and that they enjoyed all the shade that was offered on the course.
“As a team, we are happy with our placement considering we currently have two injuries and were missing a runner on a college recruiting trip.”
Colfax-Mingo hosted its first meet at Quarry Springs Park, which provides the runners with plenty of shade but not a lot of motivation from screaming fans.
C-M cross country coach Zach Tomas was happy with how the meet went but also was open to feedback from others.
“Having the start and finish line being so far away from each other is something we should look at if we can,” Tomas said. “But I got some feedback from other coaches, too. They did say that it’s good to have courses where you don’t run by many fans and you have to learn to make your own motivation. We have had those for state qualifiers before.”
The top 25 finishers in each varsity race earned medals.
Six Cardinals came home with hardware. Landon Menninga was sixth in 18:53, Derek Beiner finished 13th in 19:35 and Cole Walter’s varsity debut resulted in a 16th-place finish. Walter was clocked in 19:39.
The final scoring runner was Collin Buchli in 22nd. He finished in 19:54. Leo Friedman (19:58) also medaled in 23rd and Ryan Nook (20:32) moved up to varsity for the first time and placed 28th.
“I’m proud of these guys because with the missing individuals we could have just written off the night but so many guys had a ‘next man up’ mentality and stepped up,” Weeks said. “I’m very excited with what potential we have on this team, not just this year but years to come.”
The other two area runners to earn medals were Baxter’s Matt Richardson and Colfax-Mingo’s Xavier Woods. Richardson placed 12th in 19:34 and Woods was 25th in 20:20.
Harrison Rhone (20:48) finished 32nd for the Tigerhawks, while Cesar Buenrostro (20:56) was 36th, Josue Rodriguez (21:08) placed 38th and Coleman Craig (21:12) was the final scoring runner in 40th.
Carter Gibson, one of the Tigerhawks’ top runners, had an off night and finished 43rd in 21:19. Mason Edwards (22:46) finished 64th.
“Carter didn’t have the night he wanted to have, but it was hot and there was not a lot of air moving,” Tomas said. “That seems to be the kind of night he doesn’t do well in. We are hoping for snow on state qualifying night for him.”
After Richardson for Baxter was Logan Jones (22:17) in 54th. Logan Rainsbarger (23:57) finished 86th, Curtis Gliem (24:31) was 94th and Keenan Varner (26:27) was the final scoring runner in 103rd.
Hudson Bethards (26:31) and Thomas Yoakum (28:18) were 104th and 113th, respectively.
Newton’s busy week included meets on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. That played a factor in how Garton and other Cardinals ran their races.
They wanted to save some for their meet in St. Louis over the weekend.
“We will be happy with our second-place finish, but starting this weekend we have to put that aside and get back to getting better,” Weeks said. “The ceiling of this team is still very high, and we have got to work if we want to realize our potential.”
Garton will enjoy his first win of the season but knows he still has a ways to go.
“I still have a lot to go because I didn’t come into the season in as good of shape as normal,” Garton said. “I am hoping to still drop a minute off my time at some point.”
Notes: The Colfax-Mingo Invitational has a Traveling Trophy attached to it. It’s a trophy given to the school with the best combined score between the girls and boys teams. Newton was the traveling trophy winner on paper but because it added this meet after the season started and likely won’t be returning with its varsity team next fall, the traveling trophy went to Collins-Maxwell.