ADEL - The Raccoon River Conference belongs to Ballard in girls’ cross country after the Bombers won their fourth-consecutive conference title in convincing fashion at the conference meet Oct. 11 at Adel.
The Ballard girls, rated No. 2 in Class 3A, produced five of the top seven runners and had all seven of its varsity runners earn all-conference honors, scoring 23 points to easily beat No. 14 Carlisle’s runner-up score of 57 for the championship.
“To put it plain and simple, our girls dominated the meet tonight,” Ballard head cross country coach Scott Barth said. “The biggest key for us tonight is that we inched even closer to that one-minute spread between our scorers which we are shooting for. We started the season closer to 1:30-1:40 and are making progress.”
Ballard’s spread at the conference meet was one minute, three seconds. The Bombers’ average 5-kilometer time of 20 minutes, 11 seconds was nearly one minute faster than Carlisle’s average time of 21:10.
Ellie Twedt continued her brilliance with a runner-up individual time for the Ballard girls. After winning her previous four races Twedt, ranked 12th individually in 3A, ran a 19:31 at the RRC meet to take second behind top-ranked Ainsley Erzen of Carlisle, who easily won in 18:32.
Caitlin Maher was 20 seconds behind Twedt in third with a 19:51 showing and Brooke Loewe took fifth for the Bombers in 20:26. Rachel Wohlgemuth came in sixth with a 20:32 showing and Meg Rietz was the final runner to earn points with a seventh-place time of 20:34.
Josie Fleischmann also placed in the top 10 for Ballard with a ninth-place time of 20:50. Abbey Ross gave Ballard a seventh all-RRC runner after crossing the finish line in 21:36 to place 12th.
“We now look forward a week to the (3A) state qualifier (meet) at Spencer,” Barth said. “It will be a good regional that features No. 2 Ballard, No. 4 Bishop Heelan Catholic, No. 15 Spencer and two other teams that are receiving votes for the top 15. We will have to run well, but we have shown that we can do that, and I expect a good race next week.”
In the boys’ race Ballard also performed well. The Bombers scored 76 points to come in third behind No. 3 Carlisle (27 points) and Bondurant-Farrar (73 points).
“The men ran a good race tonight,” Barth said. “We were in a dogfight for the runner-up spot with Bondurant-Farrar, but they edged us out in the end.”
Jace Beall, a regular top runner for Ballard, slipped early in the race and was never able to recover, finishing outside the varsity cut in 38th place.
“Put him where he has been all season and that would have made a huge difference for us tonight,” Barth said. “I expect him to bounce back next Thursday.”
The Ballard boys had three all-RRC runners in Ryan Ledet, Nathan Wuestenberg and Gage Long.
Ledet placed 10th with a 5-kilometer time of 17:43, Wuestenberg took 13th in 17:53 and Long came in 15th at 17:55. Erik Ledet was close to a top-15 finish with an 18th-place time of 18:12 and Chris Lee also scored points for Ballard with a 20th-place showing of 18:24.
Jack Chism and Seth Wohlgemuth were the other varsity runners for the Ballard boys. Chism clocked in at 18:48 to place 28th and Wohlgemuth finished 30th in 18:52.
“Now we look forward to our state qualifier to take place at Spencer next Thursday,” Barth said. “I am hoping the three-hour drive pays off for our boys. I think they can be competitive with the three ranked teams there, and hopefully knock one of the favorites off to punch their ticket to state. I really feel strongly that that is a possibility. This is a good group of guys and they have been working hard for this chance.”
Adel-Desoto-Minburn’s Nate Mueller and Ethan Juergens, the Nos. 4 and 11 runners in 3A, were the first two runners to cross the finish line in the boys’ race. Mueller won in 16:05 and Juergens ran a 16:39.
The 3A qualifying meet in Spencer takes place today on the Spencer Memorial Golf Course at 4 p.m.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Ballard 23 points, 2. Carlisle 57, 3. Winterset 78, 4. Bondurant-Farrar 110, 5. ADM 135, 6. 135, 7. Boone 201.
Boys: 1. Carlisle 27, 2. Bondurant-Farrar 73, 3. Ballard 76, 4. ADM 90, 5. Winterset 111, 6. Boone 176, 7. Perry 202.
Individual results (5-kilometer) - Ballard
Girls: 2. Ellie Twedt, 19:31; 3. Caitlin Maher, 19:51; 5. Brooke Loewe, 20:26; 6. Rachel Wohlgemuth, 20:32; 7. Meg Rietz, 20:34; 9. Josie Fleischmann, 20:50; 12. Abbey Ross, 21:36.
Boys: 10. Ryan Ledet, 17:43; 13. Nathan Wuestenberg, 17:53; 15. Gage Long, 17:55; 18. Erik Ledet, 18:12; 20. Chris Lee, 18:24; 28. Jack Chism, 18:48; 30. Seth Wohlgemuth, 18:52.