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Ballard dominates girls’ race at RRC meet: Noe, Johnson go 1-2

Joe Randleman
Tri-County Times
Paityn Noe shattered her own school record with a 5-kilometer time of 17:36 to win an individual Raccoon River Conference title for Ballard Monday at the conference meet. Teammate Shewaye Johnson came in second as both runners beat top-ranked Ainsley Erzen of Carlisle. The duo helped Ballard, ranked first in Class 3A, win its sixth RRC title in a row.

AMES - Ballard’s Paityn Noe and Shewaye Johnson sent a message loud and clear at the Raccoon River Conference cross country meet Monday - they are the two best Class 3A girls’ runners in the state.

Noe and Johnson entered the meet ranked second and third respectively in the 3A girls’ individual rankings. They were going up against top-ranked Ainsley Erzen of Carlisle, who defeated both of them to win the Ballard Invitational in Huxley earlier in the year.

It was a different story on the Iowa State cross country course Monday. 

Noe continued to absolutely crush anyone in her path. She broke her own school record for the fourth meet in a row and did it emphatically, clocking in at 17 minutes, 36 seconds to break her old mark by 30 seconds and finish under 18 minutes for the first time.

“It was tough, but I knew I wanted to push myself and do my best,” Noe said. “I couldn’t ask for a better meet. It’s just crazy when I cross that line.”

Noe hasn’t made any big alterations to her training to help her run so fast this year. It’s simply been hard work and having the right mindset meet after meet.

“I started training more in the offseason this year,” Noe said. “That’s been a big difference that’s helped me with the endurance and conditioning aspects. Other than that it’s just getting consistent and keep doing the same thing.”

Johnson was also phenomenal on Monday. Her time of 18:16 was 22 seconds faster than both Ainsley’s third-place effort and her own previous PR.

“Today was a good day for me, I would say,” Johnson said. “My time could get better, but we’ll get there. Place-wise, I’m happy with it.”

Johnson is striving to get up with Noe by the end of the season.

“She’s doing amazing,” Johnson said of Noe. “I’m glad I have her on my team. That helps me to work harder. She pushes me.”

With such a dominant duo in the front it was easy to overlook the tremendous depth displayed by the Ballard girls as a team at the meet. The Bombers, ranked first and the defending 3A state champions, had six runners finish in the top 10 in scoring 23 points to easily defend their conference title.

Caitlin Maher (left) and Josie Fleischmann placed fifth and eighth respectively to help the No. 1 Ballard girls roll to their sixth Raccoon River Conference title in a row Monday at the conference meet held on the ISU cross country course in Ames.

“I cross the line, I turn around and we have this big pack coming in,” Noe said. “It feels so good. The work we’ve been putting in has paid off.”

Cailtin Maher and Ava gave Ballard two more runners that finished in under 20 minutes. 

Maher took fifth in 19:55, only trailing Noe, Johnson, Erzen and Adel-Desoto-Minburn’s Geneva Timmerman (19:03). Timmerman is the fifth-ranked runner in 3A.

 Vance continues to impress as a freshman. She took seventh with a PR time of 19:59.

Josie Fleischmann also scored points for Ballard with an eighth-place time of 20:06. Brooke Loewe didn’t make the scoring cut, yet still made all-conference with a ninth-place time of 20:11.

Kate Huisinga was the final Bomber girl to complete the course and she placed in the top 20. Huisinga was 17th in 20:45 to give the Ballard girls seven all-conference runners.

“I cannot emphasize how proud and impressed I am with the girls on the team,” Ballard head coach Scott Barth said. “They work hard and stay focused during the entirety of their races and over the course of the season. 

In the boys’ competition Ballard came in seventh out of nine teams with 164 points. North Polk, ranked fifth in 3A, won with 32 points and Carlisle, rated ninth, took second with 44.

“We had some solid performances tonight, but I am not sure if I would label it our best team performance on the season,” Barth said. “We really do have a great conference and you have to be hitting ‘on all cylinders’ to place in the upper half of the RRC and I don’t think we did that with everyone in our varsity lineup tonight.”

Austin Shoen continued to come on strong for the Ballard boys with a top 20 performance. Shoen narrowly missed making all-conference, placing 19th  with a PR 5k time of 17:33.

Ballard's Austin Shoen (rear) placed 19th with a PR 5-kilometer time of 17:33 for the Bomber boys at the RRC cross country meet Monday in Ames.

Gage Long also broke 18 minutes with a 27th-place time of 17:57. Seth Pencook came in 37th at 18:13, Jack Chism 39th in 18;32 and Chase Brekke 42nd in 18:45 to complete the scoring for the boys.

Trent Payne and Wyatt Borg also ran varsity. Payne finished 51st in 19:18 and Borg 55th in 19:38.

Adel-Desoto-Minbur’s Nate Mueller, ranked second in 3A, won the boys’ race in 15:23. North Polk’s Zach Sporaa, ranked 14th, took runner-up in 16:15.

Final team scores

Girls: 1. Ballard 23 points, 2. Winterset 91, 3. North Polk 92, 4. A-D-M 94, 5. Carlisle 109, 6. Gilbert 115, 7. Bondurant-Farrar 210, 8. Perry 241, 9. Boone 270.

Boys: 1. North Polk 32, 2. Carlisle 44, 3. A-D-M 83, 4. Winterset 116, 5. Gilbert 143, 6. Bondurant-Farrar 150, 7. Ballard 164, 8. Boone 218, 9. Perry 291.

Individual results (5-kilometer) - Ballard

Girls: 1. Paityn Noe, 17:36; 2. Shewaye Johnson, 18:16; 5. Caitlin Maher, 19:55; 7. Ava Vance, 19:59; 8. Josie Fleischmann, 20:06; 9. Brooke Loewe, 20:11; 17. Kate Huisinga, 20:45.

Boys: 19. Austin Shoen, 17:33; 27. Gage Long, 17:57; 37. Seth Pencook, 18:13; 39. Jack Chism, 18:32; 42. Chase Brekke, 18:45; 51. Trent Payne, 19:18; 55. Wyatt Borg, 19:38.

NORWALK - The Ballard girls made a big statement at the Norwalk Invitational cross country meet Oct. 5.

The Bomber girls, ranked first in Class 3A, beat third-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes and a Norwalk team rated 14th in 4A to win the team championship. 

The Bombers once again had the top two individual runners in Paityn Noe and Shewaye Johnson and all five of their scored runners placed in the top 10. This resulted in a team score of 24 points to beat DC-G by 22 points and Norwalk by 40 for first out of six teams.

“This was a very impressive meet from us,” Ballard head coach Scott Barth said. “It's the first time we have seen DC-G since our first meet of the year at Ballard. Paityn and Shewaye went out at their typical pace, but the pack toned it back somewhat and accelerated throughout the race to finish strong with lots of great times. We had a season best average time for our scorers with a time of 19 minutes, 40 seconds.”

Noe, ranked second individually in 3A, continued her amazing sophomore season by breaking the school record for the third time in a row and setting a new Norwalk course record to boot. Noe clocked in at 18:06.57 and Johnson - the No. 3 runner in 3A -  was the closest runner to her with an 18:57.1 showing.

“Paityn continued her dominance on the course finishing first in a new school record time of 18:06,” Barth said. “Shewaye ran another excellent race finishing as runner-up.”

Freshman Ava Vance also placed in the top five with a fifth-place showing of 20:17.0.

“Besides Paityn and Shewaye going one-two, another highlight of the night was from Ava, who continues to grow by leaps and bounds and moved into the No. 3 position on the team for this meet,” Barth said.

Senior Caitlin Maher also had a tremendous meet, coming in right behind Vance with a sixth-place time of 20:21.1. Jose Fleischmann gave Ballard a 10th top-10 time, clocking in at 20;39.8 to place 10th.

Brooke Loewe finished in the top 20 as Ballard’s sixth runner with a 17th-place time of 21:02.1. Kate Husinga ended up just outside the top 20 with a 21st-place showing of 21:24.7.

In the boys’ competition Ballard was fourth out of six teams with 99 points. Norwalk, ranked eighth in 4A, almost recorded a perfect score as the winning boys’ team with 17 points, Winterset was second with 62 and Bondurant-Farrar just beat out Ballard for third with 93 points.

“The boys continue to grow into solid runners and are making progress,” Barth said. “They didn’t back down from the competition in the absence of team leader Gage Long. They handily beat Marshalltown, who beat us earlier in the season, and stepped quite a bit closer to Bondurant who is a target for us at the conference meet.”

Long was out with an illness. 

Austin Shoen continued to lead the Bomber boys, finishing just outside the top 10 with a 12th-place 5k time of 17:57.2. Jack Chism and Chase Brekke also placed in the top 20 for Ballard, with Chism taking 18th in 18:27.5 and Brekke 20th in 18:33.7.

Seth Pencook came in one spot shy of a top-20 time, placing 21st in 18:36.7. Trent Payne ran a 19:05.6 to finish 28th as the final runner to earn points for the Bomber boys.

Wyatt Borg was 38th in 19;52.7 as Ballard’s sixth runner and Kale Zimmerman came in 42nd in 20:26.8.

Norwalk’s Derek Webster and Donovan Card, ranked ninth and 11th respectively in 4A, were neck-and-neck as the top two individual runners in the meet. Webster won in 16:42.6 and Card finished in 16:42.9.

Final team scores

Girls: 1. Ballard 24 points, 2. DC-G 46, 3. Norwalk 64, 4. Marshalltown 112, 5. Winterset 117, 6. Bondurant-Farrar 177.

Boys: 1. Norwalk 17, 2. Winterset 62, 3. Bondurant-Farrar 93, 4. Ballard 99, 5. Marshalltown 120, 6. Indianola JV 158. 

Individual results (5-kilometer) - Ballard

Girls: 1. Paityn Noe, 18:06.57; 2. Shewaye Johnson 18:57.1, 5. Ava Vance, 20:17.0; 6. Caitlin Maher, 20:21.1; 10. Josie Fleischmann, 20:39.8; 17. Brooke Loewe, 21:02.1; 21. Kate Husinga 21:24.7; 31. Claire Landmesser, 22:09.5; 39. Meg Rietz, 22:55.7; 43. Ashley Wuestenberg, 23:13.5.

Boys: 12. Austin Shoen, 17:57.2; 18. Jack Chism, 18:27.5; 20. Chase Brekke, 18:33.7; 21. Seth Pencook, 18:36.7; 28. Trent Payne, 19:05.6; 38. Wyatt Borg, 19:52.7; 42. Kale Zimmerman, 20:26.8; 53. Owen Greco, 20:53.3; 54. Ben Ward, 20:54.4; 57. Tiernen Edgar, 22:46.3.