CMB boys finish fourth, girls fifth

HUXLEY – It may not have faced the teams it wanted to, but the North Polk boys’ cross country team did what it was supposed to do in dominating the Class C field at the Ballard Invitational Monday at the Ballard Golf and Country Club in Huxley.

The Comet boys – ranked 10th in Class 2A – produced three top-five individual performances, finishing with 41 point as a team to easily outdistance Panorama’s 78 points for first out of 10 scored teams in Class C.

North Polk’s Heart of Iowa Conference rival – Gilbert – competed in Class B, along with another top conference foe in Nevada, plus non-conference rival Ballard.

Had the Comets run in the Class A and B race, their best runners would’ve received the chance to compete against some of the best competition in the state. Boone’s Albert Meier and Chandler Austin and Gilbert’s Thomas Pollard and Wesley Greder are among the best runners in all of Iowa.

"I kind of wanted to see what I could do against Wes, Thomas and the two Boone kids and how long I could stay up there with them," North Polk’s Peter Smith said. "I think I’d be able to get under 16 minutes if I had some competition pushing me like that. I’m kind of disappointed we got stuck in the small class."

Smith, ranked fifth individually in 2A, had no trouble bringing home the individual championship in Class C. He completed the boys’ 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 22 seconds to beat the runner-up time of South Hardin’s Tim Rose by 43 seconds.

"It was just kind of a struggle going by myself," Smith said. "I was trying for a time (under 16 minutes), but I didn’t get considering I didn’t have much competition pushing me."

But Smith did say it was good for the team to get a victory and get some of the younger Comet runners some confidence early in the season.

"As a team it was fun to be in a smaller class and be able to be up there," Smith said. "We’ve got some kids stepping up – Christian (Berglund), Matthew (Turk), Corey (Richards) and Nick (Kibby). Their starting to run faster."

Two other veterans – Ryley Sandberg and Reed Smith – came in third and fifth respectively for North Polk.

Sandberg clocked in at 17:36 to take the bronze and Reed crossed the finish line in 17:54.

Berglund finished just outside the top 10 with an 11th-place time of 18:23. Turk ran a 19:11 to place 21st as the final scored Comet runner.

Collins-Maxwell-Baxter took fourth in the Class C boys’ race, just edging out Ogden by one point with a score of 130.

"I thought our boys took a step in the right direction tonight," CMB head coach Jerry Meinerts said. "All of our guys were racing tonight. Not jogging to finish, but racing the other runners throughout the whole course. Our boys were focused the whole race and it showed with their times."

Mark Deutsch and Colin Thompson both placed in the top 10 individually for CMB. Deutsch ran an 18:13 to place eighth and Thompson clocked in at 18:17 to finish 10th.

"Colin ran a great race and he is really closing the gap between him and Mark," Meinerts said. "Mark continued to dominate and ran his best time of the season."

Calvin Jones came in 24th for the Raiders with a time of 19:25.

"Calvin had another great race, running under 20 minutes for the first time this season," Meinerts said. "Our other four guys had some great times as well and I look for all of them to be under 20 minutes in our next couple of races."

Eric Hall-Flooden finished 43rd in 20:52 and Connor Johnson was 45th in 20:55 as the other scored CMB runners.

In the girls’ competition North Polk finished third with 106 points and CMB was fifth with a score of 137. Panorama won the girls’ title with 79 points and South Hardin took second with a score of 94.

"Our times are starting to get better but we’ve still got a long ways to go," North Polk lead runner Sybbie Sears said. "We’ve got to work on running as a pack to close our gaps. We’re not where we need to be by the end of the season, but we have a different strategy and are just trying to build up to it. We’ve got to work hard every day in practice so we can peak at the right time. It’s definitely an adjustment, but it shows us just how hard we need to work if we’re where we want to be at the end of the season."

Sears placed fourth overall among Class C runners with a 4-kilometer showing of 16:25. Eagle Grove’s Tiffany Christensen won in 15:29 and South Hardin’s Claire Damon and I-35’s Holly McKinney both ran a 16:15 to place second and third respectively.

First-year runner Rachel Zimmerman came in 13th for North Polk with a time of 17:10. Samantha Sinclair took 19th in 17:24, Emerson Sears was 29th with an 18:10 showing and Olivia Patterson crossed the finish line 41st at 18:40 as the other scored Comet runners.

Chasity Moody, Heather Jessen and Winter Brown all placed in the top 30 as the fastest runners for the CMB girls. Moody took 21st in 17:32, Jessen was 23rd after completing the course in 17:41 and Brown ran a 17:58 to place 26th.

"That’s four good teams that beat us tonight and there was only a 46-second difference between our No. 1 girl and our No. 7," Meinerts said. "That’s pretty good. We just need our pack to continue improving and dropping those times and we will be in a pretty good position to compete for the win at some of our meets coming up."

Anna Jones and Chantel Maxwell were 34th and 35th with respective times of 18:16 and 18:18 as the other scored Raider runners. Stephanie Twohey and Mackenzie Klemme just missed scoring for CMB after placing 36th and 37th with respective times of 18:19 and 18:22.

Final team scores – Class C

Girls: 1. Panorama 79 points, 2. South Hardin 94, 3. North Polk 106, 4. Roland-Story 118, 5. CMB 137, 6. West Central Valley 157, 7. I-35 158, 8. Clarion-Goldfield 159, 9. Eagle Grove 159, 10. PCM 207.

Boys: 1. North Polk 41, 2. Panorama 78, 3. Eagle Grove 102, 4. CMB 130, 5. Ogden 131, 6. Roland-Story 140, 7. South Hardin 150, 8. I-35 210, 9. West Central 215, 10. PCM 228.

Individual results – CMB and North Polk

Girls (4-kilometer): 4. Sybbie Sears (NP), 16:25; 13. Rachel Zimmerman (NP), 17:10; 19. Samantha Sinclair (NP), 17:24; 21. Chasity Moody (CMB), 17:32; 23. Heather Jessen (CMB), 17:41; 26. Winter Brown (CMB), 17:58; 29. Emerson Sears (NP), 18:10; 34. Anna Jones (CMB), 18:16; 35. Chantel Maxwell (CMB), 18:18; 36. Stephanie Twohey (CMB), 18:19; 37. Mackenzie Klemme (CMB), 18:22; 41. Olivia Patterson (NP), 18:40; 44. Tessa Subra (NP), 18:58; 48. Amanda Schwab (NP), 19:25.

Boys (5-kilometer): 1. Peter Smith (NP), 16:22; 3. Ryley Sandberg (NP), 17:36; 5. Reed Smith (NP), 17:54; 8. Mark Deutsch (CMB), 18:13; 10. Colin Thompson (CMB), 18:17; 11. Christian Berglund (NP), 18:23; 21. Matthew Turk (NP), 19:11; 24. Calvin Jones (CMB), 19:25; 27. Corey Richards (NP), 19:32; 35. Nick Kibby (NP), 20:05; 43. Eric Hall-Flooden (CMB), 20:52; 45. Connor Johnson (CMB), 20:55; 47. Drake Caple (CMB), 20:59; 48. Brock Johnston (CMB), 21:04.