Conference title highlights 2021 season for Spartan girls: Haus shines for Collins-Maxwell boys

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Senior Alexis Houge was the lead runner for the Collins-Maxwell girls' cross country team in 2021. Houge helped the Spartans win the ISC meet and place fourth at the 1A qualifier meet in Pekin.

The Collins-Maxwell girls continued to win conference titles and come close to reaching state in Class 1A and the boys were just one step behind them during the 2021 cross country season.

The Spartan girls won their third Iowa Star Conference title and also took first at the Tigerhawk and Montezuma Invitationals during the season. They placed second at the Spartan Earlybird and West Marshall meets.

Collins-Maxwell ended the regular season ranked 19th in Class 1A. At the 1A qualifying meet in Pekin the Spartan girls went up against a loaded field and placed fourth — one spot shy of qualifying for state.

"Girls team had a great year, winning three meets, and winning the Iowa Star Conference Championship meet for the third time in four years," Collins-Maxwell head coach Jerry Meinerts said. "We came up short of our team goal of qualifying for state, but all in all it was a successful season."

Seniors Alexis Houge and Avery Fricke, junior Meyaurah Pratt and sophomore Erica Houge were the top runners for the Collins-Maxwell girls during the season.

Alexis placed fourth at Colfax, sixth at Montezuma and West Marshall, seventh at the ISC and Spartan Earlybird meets and 18th at the qualifying meet. Her best 5-kilometer time was 22 minutes, 18 seconds at the ISC meet and she ran a 22:47 at Pekin.

Fricke finished fifth at Colfax, seventh at West Marshall and Montezuma, ninth at conference and 21st at the qualifying meet. She peaked with a time of 22:23 at conference and ran a 22:51 at the qualifying meet.

Pratt came on late in the season, placing 5th at Montezuma, 11th at conference and 29th at the qualifying meet. Her top showing was 22:32 at the ISC meet and she ran a 23:01 at Montezuma and 23:15 at conference.

Erica placed sixth at Colfax, eighth at West Marshall and Montezuma, 12th at conference and 31st at the qualifying meet. She ran a 22:38 at conference, 22:53 at West Marshall and 23:38 at the qualifying meet.

Senior Karley Ruiz-Genovese emerged as a strong fifth runner late in the season.

Ruiz-Genovese was 10th at Montezuma, 14th at the ISC meet and 25th at the qualifying meet. Her best time was 22:52 at conference and she ran a 23:02 at Pekin.

Sarah Tschantz and Ashlynn Davis were the other varsity regulars for Collins-Maxwell. 

Tschantz ran a 24:29 at North Polk and 24:41 at conference. Davis finished the conference meet in 23:25 and the qualifying meet in 24 minutes flat.

"My favorite meet was conference," Meinerts said. "It was also fun to run some new courses this season. Montezuma, Nevada, Pekin and Colfax were all new courses this year."

The girls must go without Alexis Houge, Fricke and Ruiz-Genovese next year. But the four returning varsity regulars give them solid building blocks for 2022.

"It will be impossible to replace this years seniors," Meinerts said. "But We have some great younger runners coming up.  We won't be deep, but I believe we will be competitive. Meyaurah, Erica, Ashlyn and Sarah are all dedicated runners and I believe they will come into next season in great shape ready to compete."

The Collins-Maxwell boys won at West Marshall, placed second in the conference and third at the Tigerhawk Invite, Montezuma and Lynnville-Sully. The Spartans finished fifth at the qualifying meet.

"Our boys were very competitive this year," Meinerts said. "It was exciting to enter the rankings early in the year."

The Spartan boys were led by junior Ethan Haus. 

"We had a great top runner in Ethan, who was always competing in the top 10," Meinerts said. "He also showed the younger kids how to practice and compete."

Ethan Haus was a dominant runner at the head of the pack for the Collins-Maxwell boys' cross country team in 2021.

Haus took third at the Spartan Earlybird and West Marshall meets, fourth at the Spartan Earlybird, fifth at Montezuma and the ISC meets and 16th at the qualifier. His best 5k time was 18:02 at West Marshall and he ran an 18:19 at the ISC meet and 18:41 at the qualifier.

Austin Hennick took sixth at the Spartan Earlybird, eighth at conference and 28th at the qualifier. His best time was 18:40 at conference. 

Josh Sievert came in 13th at conference and 38th at the qualifying meet. His top time was 19:09 at West Marshall.

Hunter Lee finished 10th at the Spartan Earlybird, 11th at West Marshall, 24th at conference and 35th at the qualifier. He peaked at 19:26 during the ISC meet.

Deegan Dirkx ran his best time of 21 minutes flat at the qualifier. He placed 34th at conference in 21:28.

Marshall Day ran a 23:08 at the qualifier and Austin Kepple clocked in at 24:08 as the other Spartans to run at the meet. Kaleb Ruiz-Genovese ran a 24:09 at Montezuma.

"Our guys expected to be competitive," Meinerts said. "Austin, Josh and Hunter all stepped up this season, which we knew they would.  Isaiah (Hill) getting hurt was not part of the plan, and I hope that he will be back next year even more motivated to dominate.  Deegan Dirkx had a fine freshman season as our No. 5 guy and I look for him to get stronger each and every season."

Meinerts only loses Sievert heading into 2022.

"Our boys' team will be pretty solid if everyone stays healthy next season," Meinerts said. "I'm looking forward to a great season."