FORT DODGE – Abby-Kohut Jackson turned in another top-10 finish and her older brother Luke placed in the top 15 in Class 3A for Ballard Saturday at the state cross country meet.
Last year as a freshman, Abby took eighth in 3A with a 4-kilometer time of 15:01. On Saturday she ran an almost identical time of 15:02.0 and moved up three places to fifth in the final 3A girls’ individual standings.
"It was a little harder than expected, but I don’t know if I could’ve done much more to prepare," Abby said. "I’m glad I’m at least improving (my place) from last year."
Pella’s Tess Roorda and Davenport Assumption’s Joy Ripslinger – both freshman – stayed at the head of the 3A pack for most of the race and they started to pull away late. Abby hung with Boone’s Dianna Slight, Vinton-Shellsburg’s Lilly Horst and Dallas Center-Grimes’ Madison Waymire in the next pack, just pulling ahead of Waymire at the end to take fifth.
"I knew someone was going to set the pace of the lead pack," Abby said. "I was going to try and stick with them as long as I could."
Abby said she was a little disappointed with her final sprint. Otherwise she was pleased with her performance down the stretch.
"I know once I start to think oh, I can’t do it, I won’t be able to," Abby said. "I was just telling myself I was almost done and it was the last race of the season, so just give it all you’ve got."
Roorda won the 3A girls’ individual title in 14:36.5 and Ripslinger clocked in at 14:38. Slight – another freshman – ran a 14:58.6 to take third, Horst finished in 14:59.6 and Waymire clocked in at 15:02.8.
Decorah edged MOC-Floyd Valley in a tiebreaker for the 3A girls’ team championship after both teams scored 108 points.
In the 3A boys’ race Luke wasn’t about to let his sister take all the glory. He ran an outstanding 5-kilometer time of 16:39.0 to place 14th – topping his 2012 effort by 28 places and over 36 seconds.
"I was just happy I was in the top 20," Luke said. "I was really nervous."
Once the race got going Luke’s nerves started settling down and he really came on down the backstretch.
"Within the latter half of the race I definitely felt less nervous," Luke said. "I was in a spot where we were all spread out and I could focus. In the backstretch there’s not much of a crowd so I could just focus on what I needed to do."
Craig Jordan also competed at state individually for Ballard.
Like Luke, Jordan ran at state last year when Ballard qualified as a team. Jordan had a 96th-place time of 17:55.63 in 2012 and this year he clocked in at 17:30.8 to place 62nd.
"I definitely did better than last year," Jordan said. "It was fun."
Both Luke and Jordan are hoping to get the Bomber boys’ team back to state next fall.
"I think we’ve got a lot of potential," Jordan said. "The freshman now, who are going to be sophomores, and the freshmen who will be coming up are going to be great."
Boone’s Chandler Austin won the 3A boys’ individual championship at Fort Dodge with a time of 15:05.6. His Toreador teammate – Austin Meier – took second despite running on an injured ankle after crossing the finish line in 15:53.5.
Boone also won the 3A boys’ team title with 69 points. Charles City was second with a score of 82.
Individual results – Ballard
Girls (4-kilometer): 5. Abby Kohut-Jackson, 15:02.0.
Boys (5-kilometer): 14. Luke Kohut-Jackson, 16:39.0; 62. Craig Jordan, 17:30.8.