WINTERSET – The Ballard cross country teams combined to send three runners on to state from the Class 3A state qualifying meet in Winterset Oct. 24.
The Bomber boys advanced two runners to Fort Dodge and the Ballard girls crowned an individual champion. Both the boys and girls fell a little short of making state as a team after they each placed fifth on the day.
In the boys’ competition Luke Kohut-Jackson will be returning to state for the third time and Craig Jordan will make his first appearance for the Bombers.
Kohut-Jackson – a member of the last two state-qualifying Ballard boys’ teams – took second individually at Winterset with a 5-kilometer time of 16 minutes, 47 seconds. Only the 16:24 run by Perry’s Atem Akok was faster, with Saydel’s Casey Roberts taking third in 17:01.
Jordan slipped into the second-to-last qualifying spot.
Jordan ran a ninth-place time of 17:35, finishing two seconds in front of the 10th-place state cutoff time by Harlan’s Philip Sciranko. Jordan was eight seconds faster than the 11th-place showing by Creston’s Ben Irr.
"Luke and Craig proved solid for us," Ballard head coach Scott Barth said. "Luke finished comfortably in second and Craig ran the best race of his career in a tough field."
As a team Ballard scored 133 points to finish 14 points ahead of Humboldt for fifth and 21 points in back of Perry’s fourth-place score. Ninth-ranked Harlan won the boys’ title with 63 points, DCG took second with 96 and Creston was the final team to qualify for state with a third-place score of 103.
"We had a good season," Barth said. "With improvement in our pack (following the top runners) and some eighth-grade runners, we will make a jump next year and bid for a conference title and run at state."
Kyle Schilling was the third runner for Ballard at Winterset with a 35th-place time of 18:28. Quentin Luke and Jed Miller were the other runners to pick up points for the team as they placed 43rd and 44th with respective times of 18:40 and 18:41.
On the girls’ side sophomore sensation Abby Kohut-Jackson outlasted a tough field to take first and return to state for the Bombers.
Abby – the fifth-ranked runner in 3A and a sixth-place finisher at state last year as a freshman – completed the girls’ 4-kilometer course at Winterset in 14:32. She edged eighth-ranked Sam Larson of Humboldt by eight seconds for the girls’ individual title at Winterset.
"Abby had a solid race outrunning a good field for the title," Barth said.
DCG’s Madison Waymire and Humboldt’s Maddie Kampen – the 23rd and 24th-ranked runners – took third and fourth at Winterset with respective times of 14:58 and 15:06. Winterset freshman Layken Gurwell was fourth in 15:07 and ADM’s Brianna Mueller placed fifth in 15:11.
The Bomber girls scored 126 points as a team, finishing only three points behind Harlan’s fourth-place score.
Humboldt, Winterset and DCG were the three team’s out of the 13-school field in the girls’ meet to qualify for state. Humboldt, ranked eighth in 3A, won with 67 points, No. 11 Winterset had 81 points and DCG finished with a score of 97.
"It was a good race with Abby running solid in front," Barth said. "We just didn’t have the pack quite high enough or tight enough to make a run for state."
Ashley Meldrum, Val Charter and Meghan Hirsch came in 25th, 26th and 29th respectively for the Bomber girls. Meldrum finished in 16:18, Charter completed the course in 16:26 and Hirsch clocked in at 16:32.
Jennie Huxford was the final scored Bomber runner with a 45th-place time of 16:58 and Rachel Watters ran a 53rd-place time of 17:12. Talia Vespestad also competed, but she was unable to finish the race.
"The girls will also improve next year with a our younger girls returning with another year of experience and several 8th-grade girls coming up who appear to be varsity caliber," Barth said.
The state coed cross country meet will take place this Saturday at the Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge. The meet will begin with the 4A girls at 11 a.m. and 3A competition starts at noon.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Humboldt 67 points, 2. Winterset 81, 3. DCG 97, 4. Harlan 123, 5. Ballard 126, 6. Shenandoah-Essex 155, 7. Creston 165, 8. Glenwood 167, 9. Atlantic 191, 10. Madrid 263, 11. ADM 270, 12. Saydel 341, 13. Perry 349.
Boys: 1. Harlan 63, 2. DCG 96, 3. Creston 103, 4. Perry 112, 5. Ballard 133, 6. Humboldt 147, 7. Winterset 162, 8. ADM 165, 9. Glenwood 202, 10. Saydel 227, 11. Atlantic 345, 12. Madrid 368.
Individual results – Ballard
Girls (4-kilometer): 1. Abby Kohut-Jackson, 14:32; 25. Ashley Meldrum, 16:18; 26. Val Charter, 16:26; 29. Meghan Hirsch, 16:32; 45. Jennie Huxford, 16:58; 53. Rachel Watters, 17:12; 90. Talia Vespestad (DNF).
Boys (5-kilometer): 2. Luke Kohut-Jackson, 16:47; 9. Craig Jordan, 17:35; 35. Kyle Schilling, 18:28; 43. Quentin Luke, 18:40; 44. Jed Miller, 18:41; 58. Caleb Wuestenberg, 19:06; 61. Bryce Snell, 19:16.