NORWALK - The Ballard girls’ cross country team overcame an injury to its No. 2 runner to top Pella for the team championship at the Norwalk Invitational Monday in Norwalk.
Ballard entered the meet ranked No. 5 in Class 3A. The Bombers scored 35 points to beat out No. 12 Pella by four points for the win.
Summer McVicker, the regular second runner for Ballard at meets this season, suffered a side stitch during the race and was unable to run at top form. But the Bombers had enough depth to push through for the win as they still placed four runners in the top 10.
“Overall, the girls ran pretty well at Norwalk,” Ballard head girls’ cross country coach Scott Barth said.
Ellie Twedt, the No. 17 individual runner in 3A, placed second overall for the Ballard girls with a 5-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 59.1 seconds. Carlisle’s Megan Sievers — rated fifth in 3A — won the meet in 19:51.7.
“Ellie Twedt continues to show growth and consistency,” Barth said. “She is cutting the gap with this elite runner (Sievers), having lost to her by over one minute three weeks ago at Ballard. She is running with a lot of confidence and strength right now. She always gets us off to a great start with team scoring.”
Freshman Caitlin Maher came in sixth overall for Ballard with a time of 21:20.9. Lauren Matthews and Rachel Wohlgemuth were close behind, placing seventh and eighth with respective times of 21:25.9 and 21:30.8.
Hailey Cole was the final runner to earn points for Ballard. Cole placed 12th in 21:46.4. McVicker ended up 16th in 22:29.2 and Josie Fleischmann came in 17th at 22:39.0.
In the boys’ competition, Ballard ended up fifth out of nine teams with 149 points. Bondurant-Farrar won with 44, Carlisle scored 50 to take second, Cedar Rapids Xavier came in third with 55 and Pella took fourth with a score of 120.
“The boys are continuing to make progress and beginning to put things together,” Barth said. “The varsity pack is very tight, with the scorers running within one minute of one another. That gap would have shrunk to 30 seconds had Jace Beall not lost his scoring chip from his shoe before the end of the race.”
Chase Winterboer was the first runner for the Ballard boys to cross the finish line. Winterboer took 23rd in 18:55.7.
Nathan Wuestenberg came in 25th at 19:04.5, Carter Thompson 29th at 19:21.6, Ryan Ledet 31st at 19:25.5, Erik Ledet 41st at 19:49.6 and Zane Charter 47th at 20:18.7 to complete the scoring for Ballard. Beall’s chip didn’t read across the finish line, so he was disqualified.
“He was running pretty well at that point, but lost possibly 30 seconds running back to pick (the chip) up,” Barth said. “It is possible he could have been in the lead pack with Chase and Nathan and that would have helped our team score quite a bit.”
Xavier’s Jonathan Lansing — the No. 23 runner in 3A — won the boys’ individual title at Norwalk with a time of 17:12.6. Bondurant-Farrar’s Drake VanBaale, rated No. 12 in 3A, came in second at 17:20.5.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Ballard 35 points, 2. Pella 39, 3. Newton 104, 4. PCM 118, 5. Winterset 131, 6. Norwalk 146, 7. Bondurant-Farrar 174, 8. Carlisle 187.
Boys: 1. Bondurant-Farrar 44, 2. Carlisle 50, 3. Cedar Rapids Xavier 55, 4. Pella 120, 5. Ballard 149, 6. Winterset 173, 7. Norwalk 189, 8. Newton 189, 9. PCM 225.
Individual results (5-kilometer) - Ballard
Girls: 2. Ellie Twedt, 19:59.1; 6. Caitlin Maher, 21:20.9; 7. Lauren Matthews, 21:25.9; 8. Rachel Wohlgemuth, 21:30.8; 12. Hailey Cole, 21:46.4; 16. Summer McVicker, 22:29.2; 17. Josie Fleischmann, 22:39.0.
Boys: 23. Chase Winterboer, 18:55.7; 25. Nathan Wuestenberg, 19:04.5; 29. Carter Thompson, 19:21.6; 31. Ryan Ledet, 19:25.5; 41. Erik Ledet, 19:49.6; 47. Zane Charter, 20:18.7.