Vanderwal places 11th for Spartan boys at NP Invite: Houge takes 19th for C-M girls

Joe Randleman
Tri-County Times
Kyle Vanderwal broke 18 minutes for the first time in a 5-kilometer race this season for the Collins-Maxwell boys' cross country team at the North Polk Invitational Monday in Alleman. Vanderwal took 11th in 17:59.

ALLEMAN - Much better weather made for better results when the Collins-Maxwell cross country teams competed at the North Polk Invitational Monday at North Polk High School.

A week ago Collins-Maxwell had to run on a wet and muddy course at Hickory Grove Park near Colo, with the boys enduring a downpour in cold conditions. Wind was the only issue on Monday, as sunny and warm temperatures combined with a flatter course to bring in better results for the Spartans.

“It really helps when it’s not raining,” Collins-Maxwell senior Kyle Vanderwal said.

Vanderwal placed 11th individually to help the Spartan boys place sixth out of 11 scored teams with 173 points. He broke 18 minutes, clocking in at 17:59 on the 5-kilometer course to place 11th overall.

“This was really good momentum-wise,” Vanderwal said. “I finally hit under 18. It’s been a goal and it felt really good to do that.”

Vanderwal said he prefers running on more traditional cross country courses. But he didn’t mind the flat course on Monday.

“I like hills because they add more challenges,” Vanderwal said. “But it does feel good after running some hilly courses to run a flatter course.”

Ethan Haus placed in the top 20 and Jacob Pierick in the top 50 for the Collins-Maxwell boys. They both finished in under 20 minutes.

Haus was 19th in 18:51 and Pierick 45th in 19:57.

Austin Hennick took 59th in 20:27 and Hunter Lee was 96th in 22:06 as the other runners to score for the Spartan boys. Marshall Day came in 110th and Kaleb Ruiz-Genovese 128th out of 163 runners.

“Four of our varsity guys set their personal-best times on the season tonight,” Collins-Maxwell head coach Jerry Meinerts said. “These athletes are finally getting that racing spirit. They are looking forward to lining up at the start line and trying to beat as many other kids as they can.”

Des Moines Christian’s Carson Houge, ranked seventh individually in Class 2A, won the boys’ race in 16:40. North Polk’s Zach Sporaa, ranked 16th in 3A, was second in 16:58.

North Polk, the No. 4 team in 3A, won the boys’ team championship with 32 points, Des Moines Christian, rated eighth in 2A, was second with 61 points,

In the girls’ competition Collins-Maxwell was fifth out of six scored teams with 120 points. North Polk won with 33 points, Gilbert was second with 51, Des Moines Christian came in third with 53 and Nevada took fourth with 108.

“Five of our Varsity girls ran their best times on the season,” Meinerts said. “They raced extremely well for being such a windy day.”

Alexis Houge set the pace for the Collins-Maxwell girls. She came in with a strong final kick to earn a 19th-place 5k time of 22:46. 

“I PR’d by 30 seconds and I probably could’ve PR’d by more,” Houge. “Iittle, by little I think I’m getting there. It’s nice to know I do have a kick even though I ran 30 seconds faster than I had (before).”

Avery Fricke took 24th with her best time of the season at 23:18.

“She’s really trying to get up with us and run a solid pack of three,” Houge said. “Everybody’s just slowly working their way up and pushing themselves in practice, which is a really good sign.”

Morgan Day (left), Alexis Houge (right) and Avery Fricke were the top three runners to finish for Collins-Maxwell in the girls' race at the North Polk Invitational Monday in Alleman.

Morgan Day, who has been a top runner for Collins-Maxwell all season, took 28th in 23:38. Meyaurah Pratt stepped up with a 29th-place time of 23:52 and Karley Ruiz-Genovese also earned points with a 40th-place time of 24:12.

Ashlyn Davis finished 43rd in 24:22 and Erica Houge 47th in 24:49.

North Polk's Aleah McBee won the girls' race in 20:42. Lynnville-Sully's Greenlee Smock was second in 20:55.

Final team scores

Girls: 1. North Polk 33 points, 2. Gilbert 51, 3. Des Moines Christian 53, 4. Nevada 108, 5. Collins-Maxwell 120, 6. Boone 187.

Boys: 1. North Polk 32, 2. Des Moines Christian 61, 3. Gilbert 66, 4. Nevada 88, 5. Boone 171, 6. Collins-Maxwell 173, 7. A-D-M 185, 8. Colfax-Mingo 243, 9. Ankeny Christian 274, 10. Woodward Academy 282, 11. Saydel 307.

Individual results (5-kilometer) - Collins-Maxwell

Girls: 19. Alexis Houge, 22:46; 24. Avery Fricke, 23:18; 28. Morgan Day, 23:38; 29. Meyaurah Pratt 23:52; 40. Karley Ruiz-Genovese, 24:12; 43. Ashlyn Davis, 24:22; 47. Erica Houge, 24:49.

Boys: 11. Kyle Vanderwal, 17:59; 19. Ethan Haus, 18:51; 45. Jacob Pierick, 19:57; 59. Austin Hennick, 20:27; 96. Hunter Lee, 22:06; 110. Marshall Day, 22:55; 128. Kaleb Ruiz-Genovese, 24:22.