Spartan girls, Haus fall just short of state: C-M girls place fourth, boys fifth at qualifying meet

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Ethan Haus

The state meet eluded the Collins-Maxwell girls' cross country team yet again following the Class 1A qualifying meet in Pekin Oct. 21.

The top two teams in 1A qualify for state. The Spartan girls, ranked 19th, placed fourth behind 11th-ranked Earlham, third-ranked Pekin and 14th-ranked Pella Christian.

The Collins-Maxwell boys took fifth, coming in just two points shy of fourth place. Second-ranked Earlham and 14th-ranked Pella Christian were the two boys' teams to qualify from the meet.

The top 10 runners qualify individually in 1A.

Alexis Houge placed 18th to lead the Collins-Maxwell girls. Ethan Haus finished 16th for the boys.

Here is what we learned from Collins-Maxwell's performances at the qualifying meet:

Close but no cigar

For the fifth time in as many years as a program the Collins-Maxwell girls did well at the qualifying meet, only to fall a little short of making state. The Spartans scored 95 points to finish just 16 points behind Pella Christian's third-place score.

Alexis Houge headshot

Earlham and Pekin scored 57 and 61 points respectively as two teams to qualify for state from the meet.

"We were seeded fourth going into the meet and we finished in fourth place," Collins-Maxwell head coach Jerry Meinerts said. "Obviously we were hoping to qualify for the state meet, but the quality of teams in our state qualifier was top notch.  I'm not sure there were any other state qualifier sites with four rated teams, but that is the luck of the draw."

The Spartan girls also failed to push an individual runner through yet again despite some strong performances at Pekin. 

Houge ran a 5-kilometer time of 22 minutes, 47 seconds. Fellow seniors Avery Fricke and Karley Ruiz-Genovese were close behind her in 21st and 25th place respectively with times of 22:51 and 23:04.

"I feel bad for our seniors that have been out for four years," Meinerts said. "Alexis, Avery and Karley have been so close each and every year to qualifying, but never got the opportunity to run at Fort Dodge."

The cutoff time for state at the meet was 21:39 by Van Buren's Faith Neeley. Earlham's Olivia Spurling won the girls' race in 20:43 and Twin Cedars' Rylee Dunkin, rated seventh, placed second in 20:52.

Meyaurah Pratt and Erica Houge were the two other runners to score for the Collins-Maxwell girls. Pratt placed 29th in 23:15 and Erica 31st in 23:38.

Haus just misses out for C-M boys

Ethan Haus fell 38 seconds shy of placing in the top 10 of the boys' race and becoming the second individual qualifier for Collins-Maxwell after Kyle Vanderwal did it last year.

Haus ran a 5k time of 18:41. Ankeny Christian Academy's Daniel Schoening took the 10th and final individual qualifying spot in the boys' race with a time of 18:03.

"Ethan had a great race plan tonight and was sitting right in that 11th spot with two runners in front of him, but then he hit that last hill and didn't have enough in the tank to catch those guys," Meinerts said. "If I know Ethan, he will use that as motivation for next year and be even more prepared."

As a team the Collins-Maxwell boys scored 171 points. Earlham scored 53 points, Pella Christian 59, North Mahaska 91 and Pekin 169.

Austin Hennick placed 28th in 19:11, Hunter Lee 35th in 19:45, Josh Sievert 38th in 19:59 and Deegan Dirkx 54th in 21 minutes flat to round out the scoring for the Collins-Maxwell boys.

"Our boys ran a great race tonight," Meinerts said. "I had them penciled in as the sixth-place team going into the meet, and they ran well enough for a fifth-place finish."  

Earlham's Jayden Dickson and Dominic Braet, ranked second and third individually in 1A, were first and second at Pekin with respective times of 16:55 and 17:09.