Comet boys take third at Nevada Invite; Two CMB runners place in top 10

Joe Randleman, Sports Writer
Collins-Maxwell-Baxter's Ian Thomson (front) and Logan Berg placed fourth and sixth respectively in the varsity boys' race at the Nevada Invitational Monday at Hickory Grove.

NEVADA - North Polk turned in a strong showing and Collins-Maxwell-Baxter produced a pair of top-10 individual performances in the varsity boys’ race at the Nevada Invitational Monday at Hickory Grove.

The Comet boys came in third out of 10 teams with 81 points. North Polk finished just two points behind Nevada’s runner-up score, with South Hamilton — the No. 3 team in Class 2A — winning the boys’ title with 58 points.

“I thought the boys ran well,” North Polk head cross country coach Steve Leach said. “I would like to have beaten Nevada, but they were pretty inspired to run well on their home course. I especially liked how we closed the gap from our second to fifth runner.”

Jacob Wilcox ran an outstanding individual race yet again to lead North Polk. Wilcox completed the 5-mile course in 17 minutes, 41.28 seconds to place third behind Nevada’s Malachi Hornbuckle (17:06.63) and South Hamilton’s Logan Peters (17:39.39).

Three more Comets placed in the top 20. Will McCormick took 13th in 18:16.81, Flint Vernon 16th in 18:29.53 and Cody Meiners 20th in 18:44.68.

The effort shows the North Polk boys are starting to build depth.

“I think a lot of training in the off season with the top half of our guys really helped compensate (for the loss of two-time individual state qualifier) Austin Smith,” McCormick said. “Then, just working as a team and making sure were concentrated at the line and ready to go, but also making sure it’s a fun sport and everybody wants to be there and do it.”

McCormick also credit’s Wilcox’ outstanding season for helping keep the Comet boys focused.

“He’s always the one you’re thinking about ahead of you — you really want to get up there with Jacob,” McCormick said. “The amount of enthusiasm and good-heartedness he brings to the team really makes it something special. I’m really thankful we have him on the team.”

Kirk Leach was the final runner to earn points for North Polk. He placed 29th in 19:00.06.

CMB produced two top-10 individual performances in the boys’ varsity race.

With two of its top runners out due to injuries, the Raiders didn’t have the balance needed to compete with the top teams a the meet, finishing seventh with 179 points. But Ian Thomson and Logan Berg continued their fantastic individual seasons by placing fourth and sixth respectively.

After Berg led CMB the previous two meets, Thomson retook his spot as the top Raider runner at Nevada with a fourth-place time of 17:43.68.

“Logan’s been running really well and I haven’t been running so well lately, but today I ran well,” Thomson said. “I felt great about the first two miles and then I had to work a little harder that last one. But this is the best I felt in a long time.”

Berg crossed the finish line in 17:48.67.

Josh Bruntz placed 53rd in 20:30.19 as the third CMB runner. Noah Rhoades took 57th in 20:52.10 and Carter Davis came in 59th in 21:45.29 as the other runners to score for the Raider boys.

Ballard placed sixth in the team standings with 135 points. The Bombers had solid balance, with only 18 seconds separating their top four runners, but they couldn’t get any runners in the top 15.

“The boys didn’t run with as much intensity as we saw last week at ADM,” Ballard head cross country coach Scott Barth said. “We utilized pack running again and focused on cutting the gap in scoring runners. As a result of backing off a bit, we ended up middle of the pack.”

Ian Fletcher ran an 18th-place time of 18:38.49 and Noah Kohut-Jackson came in 19th at 18:41.79 as the top runners for the Bomber boys. Nathan Wuestenberg came in 27th at 18:58.76 and Erik Ledet 28th in 18:59.87 as the third and fourth Ballard runners to cross the finish line.

Chase Winterboer also picked up points for Ballard. He placed 43rd overall in 19:29.47.

Final varsity boys’ team scores: 1. South Hamilton 58 points, 2. Nevada 79, 3. North Polk 81, 4. Gilbert JV 91, 5. Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR 129, 6. Ballard 135, 7. CMB 179, 8. South Hardin 201, 9. West Marshall 220, 10. Colo-Nesco 291.

Individual results (5-kilometer) - Ballard, CMB and North Polk: 3. Jacob Wilcox (NP), 17:41.28; 4. Ian Thomson (CMB), 17:43.68; 6. Logan Berg (CMB), 17:48.67; 13. Will McCormick (NP), 18:16.81; 16. Flint Vernon (NP), 18:29.53; 18. Ian Fletcher (B), 18:38.49; 19. Noah Kohut-Jackson (B), 18:41.79; 20. Cody Meiners (NP), 18:44.68; 27. Nathan Wuestenberg (B), 18:58.76; 28. Erik Ledet (B), 18:59.87; 29. Kirk Leach (NP), 19:00.06; 41. Michael Williams (NP), 19:24.15; 43. Chase Winterboer (B), 19:29.47; 44. Evan Williams (B), 19:33.25; 46. Gabe Drake (NP), 19:46.80; 53. Josh Bruntz (CMB), 20:30.19; 57. Noah Rhoades (CMB), 20:52.10; 58. Carter Zane (B), 21:02.33; 59. Carter Davis (CMB), 21:45.29; 60. Brendyn Padget (CMB), 22:00.18; 61. Brady Ross (CMB), 22:04.83.