Girls eye return to state, boys possess better depth

The Collins-Maxwell-Baxter girls’ cross country team hopes to keep up the momentum from last year’s state meet appearance and the Raider boys are hoping more depth yields stronger team results in 2013.

The CMB girls will have a difficult chore in replacing three of its top runners off last year’s state-qualifying squad in Hayley Leonard, Anne Deutsch and Kayla Hennick. But with four runners back from that team, Raider head coach Jerry Meinerts believes the Raider girls will still be formidable this season.

"The girls would like to return to state," Meinerts said. "We graduated three girls, but have had some younger runners and newcomers really step up and run well this preseason."

Returning competitors that ran at last year’s state meet for CMB will be sophomores Chasity Moody and Stephanie Twohey, junior Chantel Maxwell and senior Mackenzie Klemme.

Moody came in 16th at the Heart of Iowa Conference meet and 15th at the 2A state qualifying meet last year as CMB’s No. 2 runner behind Leonard for most of the year. Her best four-kilometer time in 2012 was 16 minutes, 17 seconds. Twohey came in 17th at the qualifying meet and her fastest effort last year was 16:56.

Maxwell’s best time a year ago was 17:17 and Klemme topped out at 17:24.

"Chasity will probably be our No. 1 runner most of the season, but after that I really believe we have 10 other girls that will be competing for those next six varsity spots," Meinerts said. "Chantel, Mackenzie and Stephanie are being pushed by some of these younger girls."

Senior Mariah Norton and sophomores Courtney Clapper and Carter Larson will be joined by a strong freshman group looking to make a move into the varsity ranks. Heather Jessen, Anna Jones, Winter Brown and Veronica Condon are the four freshmen competing for varsity time.

On the boys’ side, CMB must replace individual state qualifier Aaron Ward. But with everyone else back, plus a big increase in numbers competing, Meinerts sees a stronger overall boys’ team this season.

"We had to scratch and claw to come up with seven kids to complete our team last year," Meinerts said. "With added numbers this year, we will be much better and more competitive."

Junior Mark Deutsch is the top returning runner for CMB. Deutsch’s fastest five-kilometer time last year was 17:35.

Newcomer Collin Thompson, also a junior, will be competing with Deutsch for the top spot on the boys’ team.

"Mark and Collin will be our top two runners this year," Meinerts said. "They have been running really well in practice."

Junior Drake Caple, sophomore Connor Johnson and senior Jordan Rekemeyer also ran varsity last year. Caple’s fastest time was 21:16, Johnson topped out at 20:07 and Rekemeyer peaked at 24:30.

Juniors Jacob Hallett and Brock Johnston, sophomores Lincoln Brown and Ethan Cozad and freshmen Calvin Jones and Eric Hall-Flooden will also vie for varsity time.

"I think Calvin and Drake will fill out our three and four positions," Meinerts said. "After that there will be some stiff competition for those other varsity spots."

CMB begins its season Saturday at the Pella Invitational. The meet is set to start at 11 a.m.