TIPTON — Coach Mike Mattis couldn’t ask for much more from his Northeast boys cross country team.
Led by individual champion Eli Kaczinski, the Rebels won the team title Thursday at the Class 2A qualifying meet to qualify for the state meet a week from Saturday in Fort Dodge.
“We had a great day,” Mattis said.
The Rebels barely missed putting all five of their scorers in the top 20 as they compiled 65 points to finish 22 points ahead of runner-up Tipton. Mid-Prairie claimed the third qualifying spot for state with 92 points.
“I told our guys to aim for Mid-Prairie because that’s who I though would win,” Mattis said. “Then I said to try not to let Tipton slip in. It turned out to be a battle between the teams I thought it would be, and we ran well. Maybe the smartest thing I did a coach was said that times don’t matter anymore; it’s who you beat.”
Kaczinski finished the 5,000-meter race in 16 minutes, 48.67 seconds. Nick Anderson placed 10th for the Rebels in 17:50.56, followed by teammates Nick Kennicker (16th/18:10.96), Jaden Butler (19th/18:20.15), Christian Knutsen (22nd/18:25.75); Hunter Bielenberg (32nd/18:47.13) and Brendon Butler (50th/19:35.19).
“Christian has really come into his own the last two meets,” Mattis said. “Those top five guys really kicked butt, and Hunter pushed back some guys to help, too.”
Camanche was led by Logan Petersen, who placed 15th in 18:07.55.
The Northeast girls are headed back to state after placing second to Iowa City Regina. Hannah Kilburg led the Rebels with a fifth-place finish in 16:22.07, and like the boys, all of the Rebels scorers finished in the top 25.
“The girls ran well today,” coach Pat Healy said. “I think all had personal bests, except maybe Hannah. I was real happy with how we ran.”