Spartan girls three-peat as ISC cross country champions: Boys place second at conference meet

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Collins-Maxwell girls' cross country runners (L to R) Erica Houge, Sarah Tschantz, Alexis Houge, Avery Fricke, Karley Ruiz-Genovese, Meyaurah Pratt and Ashlyn Davis pose with their Iowa Star Conference championship trophy after winning the conference meet Oct. 14 at the Wartburg Cross Country Course in Waverly.

The Collins-Maxwell girls' cross country team had a big day Oct. 14 at the Wartburg Max Cross Country Course in Waverly.

The Spartans won their third-straight Iowa Star Conference championship by edging North Tama by five points and Baxter by 11 for first. Collins-Maxwell, the 18th-ranked team in Class 1A, scored 39 points, North Tama finished with 44 and Baxter 50.

The Collins-Maxwell boys came in second to fourth-ranked Valley Lutheran. The Spartan boys tallied a score of 61 and Valley Lutheran scored 21 points.

Both Spartan teams had two runners place in the top 10 individually. Here is what we learned from the strong showing from Collins-Maxwell:

Depth carries girls to championship

The five runners to score for the Collins-Maxwell girls all finished within 34 seconds of each other. That was enough to get the Spartans past the Redhawks and the Bolts for another conference title.

"We knew going into this meet that it was going to be a three-team race with North Tama, Baxter and us," Collins-Maxwell head coach Jerry Meinerts said. "Both those teams have girls that were going to be in the top three, so we knew we had to keep our pack within striking distance of those top girls.  I thought we got a little too comfortable running there that first mile and would like to see our girls get out just a little faster.  But everything worked out well and all seven of our varsity girls ran their best time of the season."

Alexis Houge was the first Spartan girl to cross the finish line. Houge placed seventh in 22 minutes, 18 seconds.

Avery Fricke was right behind Houge in ninth place with a 22:23 showing. Meyaurah Pratt placed just outside the top 10 with an 11th-place time of 22:32.

Erica Houge was a couple steps behind Pratt with a 12th-place time of 22:38. Karley Ruiz-Genovese came up huge in the fifth spot for Collins-Maxwell with a 14th-place time of 22:52.

Ashlyn Davis didn't score for Collins-Maxwell, but she wasn't too far off the lead pack. Davis came in 16th at 23:25.

Sarah Tschantz was 24th in 24:41 as the final varsity runner to cross the finish line for Collins-Maxwell.

Boys take care of business

The Collins-Maxwell boys had four runners place in the top 15 at the conference meet. They have placed second at the ISC meet three years running.

"We thought we had a shot to run for second place tonight," Meinerts said. "Valley Lutheran is a great team — they're rated No. 4 and they looked like it tonight.  Our boys took care of business tonight and ran great to earn that second-place team finish."

Ethan Haus and Austin Hennick both placed in the top 10 for Collins-Maxwell. 

Haus took fifth in 18:19. Hennick came in eighth with a time of 18:40.

"Ethan ran a great race," Meinerts said. "I know he is not happy with his time, but he continues to finish in the top 10 at each and every race he runs.  That will be his big goal next week.  Sophomore Austin Hennick ran a season best time to finish as an all-conference runner."

Josh Sievert and Hunter Lee both crossed the finish line in 19:26 to place 13th and 14th respectively. Deegan Dirkx clocked in at 21:38 to finish 34th as the final Spartan boy to score.

Spartans to run at Pekin

The Collins-Maxwell cross country teams will run at the 1A qualifying meet in Pekin Thursday. The meet will start at 4 p.m.

The top competition for the Spartan girls will be third-ranked Pekin and 13th-ranked Pella Christian.