CAMBRIDGE - The Ballard boys’ cross country team showed tremendous depth in winning the Spartan Early Bird Invitational Aug. 23 at the Center Grove Orchard between Cambridge and Maxwell.
Ballard had all seven of its scored runners place in the top 10, including three top-five runners, scoring 25 points to easily beat Baxter’s score of 72 for first.
“The biggest takeaway that I had was that our depth has improved from last season,” Ballard head cross country coach Scott Barth said. “There is going to be a fight for those final varsity spots, and if we as a team can see that as a good thing, we can expect to improve a lot from this meet until the end of the season.”
Jace Beall was the first Bomber to cross the finish line. Beall ran a 5-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 14.9 seconds to come in third behind the 16:54.3 run by GMG’s Jackson Edens and the 17:10.1 effort by Baxter’s Logan Berg.
“I started off really fast, which was not a smart idea because I ran out of stamina pretty early,” Beall said. “But toward the end I got a lot of momentum and adrenaline — the last half mile — and was able to keep a kick up and back to third place, so that was good.”
Erik Ledet came in fourth at 18:31.7, Nathan Wuestenberg fifth in 18:39.6, Ryan Ledet sixth in 18:49.5 and Zane Charter seventh in 19:09.3 as the other runners to earn points for Ballard. Jack Chism placed eighth in 19:17.6 and Chase Winterboer 10th with a 19:29.1 performance as the team’s other varsity runners.
Seth Wohlgemuth ended up just outside the top 10 and the varsity cut with an 11th-place time of 19:35.9.
Chris Lee, Tom Ledet and Jonah Olsan came in 14th, 15th and 16th with respective times of 19:57.1, 20:08.0 and 20:13.6. Ben Ward and Dante Jones also placed in the top 20 by crossing the finish line in 20:24.6 and 20:28.5 to finish 18th and 19th respectively.
“It’s nice having great depth like we do,” Beall said. “We all work really hard.”
Collins-Maxwell ended up fourth out of five teams with 90 points. The Spartans had two runners place in the top 15.
Sophomore Jacob Pierick was the first Spartan to complete the course. Pierick clocked in at 19:40.4 to place 12th, taking over the lead spot on the team after the graduation of Carter Fricke, Max Van Maanen and Noah Rhoades off last year’s team.
“I was very happy with how I ran,” Pierick said. “During the run, I was thinking we have three that were gone that were our greatest (runners) — time for me and the others to take over and fill in those shoes.”
Junior Daniel Klein, who came to Collins-Maxwell from Kentucky, placed right behind Pierick. Klein led the Spartan runners most of the way and finished 13th in in 19:43.5.
“Daniel Klein had never run in a cross country race before, and I don’t think he’s ever seen one, so he was a little nervous going into the race,” Collins-Maxwell head cross country coach Jerry Meinerts said. “But once the gun went off, the nerves were gone and he ran the race that he was supposed to run. We were shooting for a top-15 finish and he accomplished that. He’s been a nice addition to the team.”
Joshua Sievert finished 27th in 21:08.0, Addison Swaab took 44th in 23:02.1 and Carter Davis ended the race 46th in 23:31.2 to complete the scoring for Collins-Maxwell. Carter Merryman also ran for the Spartans, finishing 51st in 25:18.4.
Spartan Early Bird Invitational
Final boys team scores
1. Ballard 25 points, 2. Baxter 72, 3. GMG 73, 4. Collins-Maxwell 90, 5. Colo-NESCO 100.
Individual results (5-kilometer)
Ballard and Collins-Maxwell: 3. Jace Beall (B), 18:14.9; 4. Erik Ledet (B), 18:31.7; 5. Nathan Wuestenberg (B), 18:39.6; 6. Ryan Ledet (B), 18:49.5; 7. Zane Charter (B), 19:09.3; 8. Jack Chism (B), 19:17.6; 10. Chase Winterboer (B), 19:29.1; 12. Jacob Pierick (CM), 19:40.4; 13. Daniel Klein (CM), 19:43.5; 27. Joshua Sievert (CM), 21:08.0; 44. Addison Swaab (CM), 23:02.1; 46. Carter Davis (CM), 23:31.2; 51. Carter Merryman (CM), 25:18.4.