FORT DODGE - Strong balance enabled the Ballard girls to take 10th in Class 3A at the state cross country meet Saturday at the Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
Ballard had a difference just over one minute between its first and last scored runners. That enabled the Bombers to score 227 points and top last year’s 14th-place score of 296.
“That’s always the goal,” Ballard sophomore Ellie Twedt said. “Keep it packed up so we can score low.”
The Bombers ran especially close together after its top two runners — Twedt and freshman Caitlin Maher - crossed the finish line. Only 11.6 seconds separated third Bomber runner Rachel Wohlgemuth and seventh runner Josie Fleischmann.
“I was packed in with four girls,” Ballard’s Lauren Matthews said. “We stayed together really well.”
Wohlgemuth clocked in at 20 minutes, 49.5 seconds to place 83rd overall. Summer McVicker wrapped up her career with an 85th-place time of 20:50.2, Matthews took 89th in 20:56.5, Hailey Cole finished 91st in 20:57.2 and Josie Fleischmann completed the course in 21:01.1 to end up 98th.
Twedt ran a 19:56.0 to place 35th. She wasn’t happy with her performance after running a 19:42.5 at state last year.
“I felt I could’ve executed better,” Twedt said. “It was just (the type of) the day, I think.”
Maher said she was pleased with her first experience at state. She said running at the prestigious Heartland Classic in Ames early in the season was a big help in getting ready for state.
“The loudness of the Heartland Classic was a little much,” Maher said. “But I think I mentally prepared for it a little better today. I think it was a pretty good race myself.”
Maher clocked in at 20:11.3 to place 49th.
Ballard head cross country coach Scott Barth said even though the team improved from last year, the Bombers weren’t satisfied with their final placing.
“In some way, I think we a little let down as a team by the outcome of the meet,” Barth said. “We had expectations set to finish a bit higher, and I definitely think we had that potential, we just didn’t deliver a performance that allowed us to do that.”
But the Bomber coach will still take a top-10 finish.
“Did we run poorly? Not at all,” Barth said. “We just didn’t run up to our potential and that makes us a little disappointed.”
And Maher had nothing but glowing praise for what her team accomplished in 2017.
“We’ve had such a great season,” Maher said. “These girls are some of my best friends. We’re really going to miss our seniors, (but) I just hope this is how it is all through high school, because I had a really good time this year.”
Dubuque Wahlert won the 3A girls’ team title with 72 points. Pella came in second with a score of 104 and last year’s champion Decorah took third with 150 points.
Center Point-Urbana’s Adrianna Katcher repeated as the 3A individual champion with a time of 18:23.5. Grinnell sophomore Mary Blanchard was runner-up with a time of 18:35.7 and Wahlert freshman Gabby Moran placed third after finishing in 18:44.7.
Final Class 3A girls team scores: 1. Dubuque Wahlert 72 points, 2. Pella 104, 3. Decorah 150, 4. DCG 157, 5. Charles City 177, 6. Bishop Heelan Catholic 184, 7. Humboldt 199, 8. North Polk 201, 9. Anamosa 207, 10. Ballard 227, 11. Benton Community 240, 12. Grinnell 258, 13. Denison-Schleswig 280, 14. Glenwood 294, 15. Spencer 324.
Individual results (5-kilometer) - Ballard: 35. Ellie Twedt, 19:56.0; 49. Caitlin Maher, 20:11.3, 83. Rachel Wohlgemuth, 20:49.5; 85. Summer McVicker, 20:50.2; 89. Lauren Matthews, 20:56.5; 91. Hailey Cole, 20:57.2; 98. Josie Fleischmann, 21:01.1.