Cross country athletes all over the state of Iowa took to their courses on Thursday afternoon, all vying for the coveted spots that would send them to the state meet in Fort Dodge next week.
Two teams along with a handful of individuals made it through and will see how they stand against the best of the best next Saturday at the state meet.
Clinton misses cut
The Clinton River Kings and Queens knew they would have a tough go at it with some of the best in the state running at Crow Creek Park on Thursday.
Still, head coach Kellen Schneeberger liked what he saw from his team.
The boys finished sixth, behind powerhouses like Pleasant Valley, Dubuque Hempstead and Bettendorf. Senior Noah Smith cracked the top 25 of the field with a 23rd place finish in 17:27.
“We were always fluid with our lineup and stayed pretty competitive,” Schneebeger said. “Noah Smith of course was our top guy and he ran real consistent. That’s a tough meet with Hempstead and PV, they have a lot of studs and I was impressed.”
Conner Sattler clocked in at 18:16, and both Parker Sirna and Ethan Buer within the next 20 seconds of him.
Senior Kyle Gassman finished in 19:02, Luke Jennings in 19:05 and Jorge Dondiego in 19:18.
“Kyle Gassman ... everything kind of hangs on your number five runner,” Schneeberger said, pointing to the senior and captain. “He fought and fought all meet. I couldn’t be more happy about the effort.”
The Clinton girls finished 8th in the nine team field. Abby Struble, Kaylie DeSwart and Viviana Ramirez made the top 50, led by Struble with a 23:00 flat.
Selena Tello came in next with a 24:26 and then Emma Milder with a 24:48.
“Our girls did a phenomenal job and really competed hard,” Schneeberger said. “At conference last week, we just didn’t clock for whatever reason. It clicked today. Just to see the effort, it was awesome.”
Irish send girls, Blount
The Prince of Peace girls new it was their goal to qualify for the state meet as a team, and they checked that off the list on Thursday.
The team placed third at their state-qualifying site in Iowa City, led by a fifth place finish from junior Sophie Griffin who clocked in at 21:19.14. That finish automatically qualified her as an individual.
The rest of the team backer her up. The next three runners all came in in the top 20. Kaelyn Goodsman and Madison Anglese crossed the finish line within six seconds of each other right around the 22:30 mark, and then Ava Ruden came in at 22:57.
The Irish finished behind Iowa City Regina and Pekin with 117 team points.
Freshman Marcus Blount also punched his own ticket to state with a tenth place finish. HE finished 10th overall in Iowa City on Thursday, cloking in at 17:55.78.
Also qualifying for the state meet was Easton Valley’s Aidan Gruver, who finished 12th overall just five seconds behind Blount.
Indians qualify again
For the second time in a row – and the second time in school history – the Camanche boys nabbed a team spot out in Fort Dodge.
The No. 1 ranked Tipton boys won the meet with a shocking 26 points, while North Fayette Valley came in second and Camanche third with 123.
Both Dylan Darsidan and Dodson Melchiori also qualified individually with their performances.
Darsidan finished third in 16:44, behind Caleb Schumaker from Tipton and Brady Griebel from Bellevue. The three have been battling for the top spot all year and will see the same battle at the state meet.
Melchiori finished 11th in 17:35.
Following their performances was Andrew Butt in 18:25, Zach Edens in 19:02, and Jaxon Bussa in 19:19.
Rebels sending three
Two boys and a freshman girl are heading to Fort Dodge to represent Northeast after qualifying as individuals on Thursday in Williamsburg.
Andrew Hilgendorf is making yet another appearance in Fort Dodge to cap off his senior cross country season.
Hilgendorf was runner up in 16:47 on Thursday, whole Machande finished tenth in 17:41.
Joe Hasken came in 25th in 18:24 and Jace Rathje was five placed behind him in 18:31.
Joining him is teammate Thomas Machande.
On the girls’ side, Cenady Soenksen notched an individual spot as well. The Rebel girls finished sixth as a team with 177 points.
The boys’ team finished fourth with 101 points, just out of reach for a team berth to Fort Dodge.
Soenksen came in at 19:42 in fourth place to grab her spot. Grace Ketelsen clocked in at 21:12 and Faith Ketelsen finished in 21:55, both cracking the top 30 as well.
Small qualifies as senior
Central DeWitt’s Carly Small missed out on qualifying last year, but redeemed herself with an impressive finish at Thursday’s state qualifier in Solon.
The the Sabers’ sixth place team finish, Small battled for an 11th place finish in 20:19.8, beating three other runners by ten seconds or less.
Kyleen Irwin came in 22nd overall with a 21:16.3, and Hannah Payne finished 28th.
This will be Small’s second appearance at state.