Analysis of Ballard's showing at the Lynx Invitational cross country meet

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Kate Huisinga

The Ballard cross country team opened the season Aug. 31 at the Lynx Invitational in Webster City. The girls, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, placed second out of 12 teams and the boys came in seventh out of 16. Here are takeaways from the meet:

Girls weren't at full strength

Ballard was without top runner Paityn Noe, the No. 1 individual runner in 3A, and their second runner — sophomore Ava Vance. Noe is recovering from a tight lower back and Vance was unavailable due to family obligations. Even without those two Ballard still did well to place second behind a North Polk team rated 18th in 3A. Ballard scored 53 points to North Polk's 37. The Bombers still beat a Fort Dodge St. Edmond team ranked 10th in 1A and a Roland-Story team ranked 11th in 2A.

"Overall, I am very pleased with our performance tonight," Ballard head coach Scott Barth said. "Give North Polk credit. They are a very good team and pushed us all night with some aggressive running. I think that they are definitely a top-10 team and more than likely top-five. We learned a lot by them being there and will switch our training now that we have had a few weeks to build a base. We will see them a few more times over the season and their team will push us to be better. We appreciate the competition."

Huisinga, freshman Larson step up for Bomber girls

Senior Kate Huisinga and freshman Annika Larson both ran great races in Noe and Vance's absence. Huisinga took sixth with a 5-kilometer time of 21 minutes, 13 seconds. Larson was right behind in seventh place with a time of 21:15. Sophomore Erica Espinoza (21:58), freshman Brynn Wilson (22:02) and senior Brooke Loewe (22:04) came in 14th, 15th and 16th to round out Ballard's scoring.

The boys had a solid debut

The Ballard boys scored 207 points to beat out Southeast Valley by nine points for seventh. The Bomber boys finished in the top half of a field that included North Polk (No. 2 in 3A), Waverly-Shell Rock (11th in 3A) and St. Edmond (11th in 1A).

Pencook off to a strong start

Seth Pencook

Junior Seth Pencook had a strong first race of the season for the Ballard boys. He was the lone Bomber runner to break 19 minutes, running an 18:34 to place 23rd out of 113 runners in the boys' race. Chase Brekke (19:24), Bradley Sage (19:27), Trent Payne (19:29) and Logan Huntrods (20:37) came in 37th, 39th, 41st and 74th as the other runners to score for the boys. Zack Charter also ran a 20:37 in placing 77th.