Analysis from Collins-Maxwell's performance at the Pella Invitational cross country meet

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Alexis Houge headshot

The Collins-Maxwell cross country team competed at the Pella Invitational Saturday on the Central College Cross Country Course in Pella. The girls came in third and the boys seventh out of nine teams in the Small School Division. Here are key takeaways from the meet:

Girls have a tight pack at the front

Avery Fricke

Lead Collins-Maxwell runners Alexis Houge, Avery Fricke and Erica Houge were neck-and-neck during the race.

Alexis took 16th with a 5-kilometer time of 23 minutes, 23.6 seconds. Fricke was 19th in 23:32.9 and Erica 22nd in 23:40.3.

The trio helped Collins-Maxwell score 121 points. The Spartans, ranked 14th in Class 1A, came in behind only Mid-Prairie (No. 1 in 2A) and Des Moines Christian (No. 13 in 2A), who finished with 21 and 83 points respectively.

"We are very pleased with how we ran today," Collins-Maxwell head coach Jerry Meinerts said. "It was just about perfect conditions and our girls really took advantage of it.  I believe each of our girls ran about 60-90 seconds faster than our first meet, and when you compare this meet to last year at this time, they were one to two minutes faster." 

Erica Houge

Pratt and Ruiz-Genovese need to close the gap

If Meyaurah Pratt and Karley Ruiz-Genovese can cut their gap with the top three in half Collins-Maxwell could be a top-10 team in 1A. Pratt and Ruiz-Genovese ran respective times of 24:34.4 and 24:47.7 in placing 35th and 41st respectively at Pella. If they can make a couple of good strides over the next month Collins-Maxwell will be a force come the qualifying meet.

Haus running strong for Collins-Maxwell boys

Ethan Haus continues to have a strong junior season for the Spartan boys. Haus placed in the top 10 at the Pella Invite. He took ninth with a 5k time of 18:40.2.

"Ethan ran a great race today and his time dropped a bunch from last week," Meinerts said. "I look for him to find that race pace from here on out and I look for him to keep running with those lead packs."  

The boys must keep working to develop depth

No other runner besides Haus finished under 21 minutes for the Collins-Maxwell boys Saturday. The Spartans scored 198 points to only beat two teams on the day. They need to get multiple runners besides Haus under 20 minutes if they hope to make some noise at the Iowa Star Conference meet and beyond. Hunter Lee took 44th in 21:11.3, Deegan Dirkx 65th in 22:42.5, Marshall Day 81st in 24:31.2, Parker Lawrence 89th in 26:00.1 and Kaleb Ruiz-Genovese 90th in 26:00.5.