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No. 1 Ballard girls top No. 2 DC-G at Mike Carr Invite: Noe places second individually in Class A

Joe Randleman
Tri-County Times
Ballard's Paityn Noe (left) runs with Carlisle's Ainsley Erzen down a hill near the two-mile marker of the Class A girls' race at the Mike Carr Invitational Monday at the Ballard Golf and Country Club in Huxley. Noe, ranked third, came in second to Erzen, ranked first, in a battle of two of the top runners in Class 3A. Noe's efforts helped the No. 1 Ballard girls win the Class A team title over No. 2 DC-G.

HUXLEY - It was a long wait, but the cross country season finally got underway for Ballard Monday at the Mike Carr Invitational.

The Bombers had their first two meets canceled, but Monday was an almost perfect late summer day to run.

The Ballard girls’ made the most of their opportunity. Entering the 2020 season as the top-ranked team in Class 3A, the Bombers showed why they are the defending state champions by beating No. 2 Dallas Center-Grimes by 12 points for the Class A team title.

“We went head to head with No. 2 DC-G and managed to get the win,” Ballard head coach Scott Barth said. “I can tell the maturity on this team by their response after the race. They were pleased with the win but not satisfied. We still have things we can work on and will get better as the season progresses.”

Ballard scored 39 points to DC-G’s 51. North Polk was a distant third with 108 points and 13th-ranked Carlisle came in fourth out of 12 scored teams with 115 points.

The meet featured the top three individual runners in 3A. Carlisle’s Ainsley Erzen is ranked first and Ballard sophomores Shewaye Johnson and Paityn Noe are rated second and third respectively.

Ainsley won the meet in an exciting race with Noe. Noe stuck right with Erzen for most of the meet until the Carlisle senior gained a little separation on the last hill before crossing the finish line.

“I was right behind her at the beginning and once I caught up to her I was just trying to stay focused and stay with her the entire time,” Noe said. “It feels pretty good. I know there’s a lot to improve on, but I’m excited for the rest of the year and excited to see what I can do.”

Noe ran a 5-kilometer time of 18 minutes. 30.7 seconds. Erzen’s winning time was 18:28.0.

Johnson came in fourth overall with a 19:32.1 showing. She came in just behind the third-place time of 19:27.2 by Adel-Desoto-Minburn sophomore Geneva Timmerman.

“I don’t think I did that good,” Johnson said. “There’s just something this course, I just don’t like it. But I tried my best and the result is what happened.”

Johnson is looking forward to running again this Saturday at the Heartland Classic Central College course in Pella.

“There are more meets,” Johnson said. “I have one Saturday and I’ll do better for sure.”

DC-G had the fifth, seventh and eighth-place finishers in Megan Sterbenz, Kami Smith and Hannah Little. But Ballard’s depth proved to be too strong.

“We always try to push ourselves,” Noe said. “It’s always competition.”

Caitlin Maher, Brooke Loewe, Josie Fleischmann and freshman Ava Vance all placed in the top 15 for Ballard. Maher took 10th in 21:38.1, Loewe 11th in 21:41.1, Fleischmann 12th in 21:43.2 and Vance 14th in 21:45.7.

“The pack was were they needed to be, but they have their sites on DC-G’s second and third runners,” Barth said. “Ava Vance made her varsity race and did really well. She is a dedicated runner from a running family and has huge potential over the course of the season.”

Kate Huisinga also ran varsity for Ballard. She took 30th in 22:49.7.

In the boys’ competition Ballard scored 255 to place 10th out of 11 teams in Class A. Top-ranked DC-G won with 45 points, third-ranked North Polk was second with 60, 13th-ranked Carlisle came in third with 80 and A-D-M was fourth with 82.

“Our boys ran a decent race considering we were short handed in this our first meet,” Barth said. “We were without the services of Ben Ward and Trent Payne tonight. Both have injuries and were not able to compete for us. The boys are a better team than we saw tonight on the course. We had some good performances, but overall we need to work on the mental toughness and focus it takes to improve.”

Gage Long led the Ballard boys with a 31st-place finish. His 5-kilometer time of 18:49.4 was the best of his career.

“It felt really good,” Long said. “It was (my) last race at home after last year when I was out for two weeks it feels good to be back and get some redemption finally.”

 Long said that even with the COVID-19 situation he’s been training hard since last spring. It paid off Monday.

“Spring break is when all this hit and I’ve been training since then just in case we had track season,” Long said. “I decided I don’t want to take any time off. I just kept running. I’ve been running five or six days a week all summer - just working hard everyday.”

Jack Chism (front) and Gage Long compete for Ballard in the Class A boys' race at the Mike Carr Invitational Monday at the Ballard Golf and Country Club in Huxley.

Austin Shoen came in 34th with a time of 18:53.0 as the second Ballard runner to complete the Class A boys’ race. Jack Chism took 59th in 20:08.7, Chase Brekke 61st in 20:24.0 and Seth Pencook 70th in 21:03.1 to round out the scoring for the Ballard boys.

Ian Godbold and Kale Zimmerman also ran varsity. They placed 75th and 76th with respective times of 22:40.8 and 22:52.3.

Humboldt’s Quinton Orr, ranked second individually in 3A, defeated top-ranked and defending state champion Nate Mueller of A-D-M for first individually in the Class A boys’ race. Orr won in 15:42.3 and Mueller finished in 16:04.8.

Final Class A team scores

Girls: 1. Ballard 39 points, 2. DC-G 51, 3. North Polk 108, 4. Carlisle 115, 5. Gilbert 144, 6. Winterset 152, 7. Johnston JV 168, 8. A-D-M 175, 9. Bondurant-Farrar 238, 10. Humboldt 280, 11. Webster City 338, 12. Boone 364.

Boys: 1. DC-G 45, 2. North Polk 60, 3. Carlisle 80, 4. A-D-M 82, 5. Humboldt 98, 6. Gilbert 166, 7. Webster City 192, 8. Winterset 205, 9. Bondurant-Farrar 228, 10. Ballard 255, 11. Boone 291.

Individual results (5-kilometer) - Ballard

Girls: 2. Paityn Noe, 18:30.7; 4. Shewaye Johnson , 19:32.1; 10. Caitlin Maher 21:38.1; 11. Brooke Loewe, 21:41.1; 12. Josie Fleischmann, 21:43.2; 14. Ava Vance, 21:45.7; 30. Kate Huisinga, 22:49.7.

Boys: 31. Gage Long, 18:49.4; 34. Austin Shoen, 18:53.0; 59. Jack Chism, 20:08.7; 61. Chase Brekke, 20:24.0; 70. Seth Pencook, 21:03.1; 75. Ian Godbold, 22:40.8; 76. Kale Zimmerman, 22:52.3.