CAMBRIDGE — The Collins-Maxwell cross country teams defended their home turf at the Spartan Early Bird Invitational Aug. 29 at the Center Grove Orchard.
Both Spartan teams won a team championship at the event for the first time. Collins-Maxwell dominated the girls’ competition and the Spartan boys edged Colo-NESCO for first.
In the girls’ race, all five scored runners for Collins-Maxwell placed in the top 10. The Spartan girls scored 31 points to easily top Twin Cedars’ score of 60 for first out of seven scored teams.
“With the heat and humidity today, I talked to the girls before the race about just going out and running a smooth, smart race,” Collins-Maxwell head coach Jerry Meinerts said. “They did that today and came home victorious. “
Alexis Houge and Avery Fricke both placed in the top five individually for the Collins-Maxwell girls.
Houge crossed the finish line in 23 minutes, 44.8 seconds to come in third behind Colfax-Mingo’s Abbey McConeghey (21:46.7) and Twin Cedars’ Rylee Dunkin (22:05.0). Fricke placed fifth in 24:16.0, finishing just behind the fourth-place time of 24:08.4 by Baxter’s Kailee Conradi.
Mikayla Houge ended up just outside the top five for Collins-Maxwell with a sixth-place showing of 24:22.6. Ariana Davis took eighth in 24:42.0 and Morgan Day ninth in 24:45.3 to round out the Spartan scoring.
“Our girls ran as a tight pack for the majority of the race and really looked strong,” Meinerts said. “We weren’t worried about our times today, but once we get on a fast course with some good running conditions, we’ll cut ‘em loose and see what they can do. One of our meet goals was to get seven girls in the top 15 to earn medals, and we accomplished that goal tonight.”
In the boys’ competition, Collins-Maxwell scored 35 points to beat out Colo-NESCO by 10 points for first out of six scored teams. The Spartan boys placed four runners in the top 10.
“So excited for this group of young men to earn the first ever victory in the short history of the C-M Spartans,” Meinerts said. “From day one of the season, these guys have been getting after it. They have shown a great desire to bring the team to new heights and they ran like it tonight.”
Newcomer Kyle Vanderwal ran a dominant 5-kilometer time of 19:42.3 to place second overall in the boys’ race. Only the 18:02.9 effort by Baxter’s Logan Berg was faster.
“Kyle ran a great race out there by himself,” Meinerts said. “He stayed focused and did a great job of pulling away from the pack of runners behind him.”
Jacob Pierick ran a 20:46.6 to take sixth, Ethan Haus came in seventh at 20:52.5, Hunter Lee finished ninth in 21:07.0 and Daniel Klein came in 11th at 21:21.6 to complete the scoring for Collins-Maxwell.
“I wanted them to run smooth, run smart, and compete with the runners around them,” Meinerts said. “They did that and I’m super pumped for these guys.”
Carter Merryman and Carter Davis also ran varsity for the boys. Merryman finished 34th in 25:40.1 and Davis 37th in 25:49.1.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Collins-Maxwell 31 points, 2. Twin Cedars 60, 3. Baxter 93, 4. Colfax-Mingo 102, 5. BGM 120, 6. Colo-NESCO 145, 7. Martensdale St. Marys 145.
Boys: 1. Collins-Maxwell 35, 2. Colo-NESCO 45, 3. Colfax-Mingo 69, 4. Baxter 102, 5. GMG 108, 6. Martensdale St. Marys 113.
Individual results - Collins-Maxwell (5-kilometer)
Girls: 3. Alexis Houge, 23:44.8; 5. Avery Fricke, 24:16.0; 6. Mikayla Houge 24:22.6; 8. Ariana Davis, 24:42.0; 9. Morgan Day, 24:45.3; 11. Olivia Pasquariello, 24:52.1; 14. Marissa Boege, 25:10.5.
Boys: 2. Kyle Vanderwal, 19:42.3; 6. Jacob Pierick, 20:46.6; 7. Ethan Haus, 20:52.5; 9. Hunter Lee, 21:07.0; 11. Daniel Klein, 21:21.6.1; 34. Carter Merryman, 25:40.1; 37. Carter Davis, 25:49.1.