Bomber girls place sixth at Heartland Classic

Joe Randleman Staff Writer
Ellie Twedt

PELLA — In spite of a tremendous outing, the Ballard girls’ cross country team knew it could’ve left a little bit more out on the cross country course at Central College during the prestigious Heartland Classic meet Saturday.

Going up against 25 of the top teams from the entire midwest Ballard, the No. 1 team in Class 3A, placed sixth overall with a score of 196.

Running in rainy weather and on a soggy course, the Bombers beat every Iowa team at the meet except three. Johnston and Waukee, the No. 1 and No. 3 4A teams, went second and fourth and Dallas Center-Grimes, the No. 3 3A team finished just ahead of Ballard in fifth place. DCG only bested Ballard by a single point.

Fremont and Papillion-Lavista — two schools from Nebraska — placed first and third with respective scores of 124 and 145.

“If you had told me coming into the meet that we would finish sixth in this very deep and talented meet, I would have taken it in a minute,” Ballard head coach Scott Barth said. “Looking back now, I honestly think we could have been higher if we had all of our runners run the way we know they can. However, beating six ranked 4A teams is pretty awesome for our program.”

The other Iowa schools running at the meet were Linn-Mar (No. 7 in 4A), Southeast Polk (No. 2 in 4A), Iowa City High (No. 12 in 4A), Cedar Rapids Prairie (No. 6 in 4A), Des Moines Roosevelt (No. 10 in 4A), Dowling Catholic (No. 9 in 4A), Ames (4A), Davenport Assumption (3A), Pella (3A), Sioux City North (4A) and Marshalltown (4A). There were also four more teams from Nebraska, three from Kansas and one from Missouri.

Ellie Twedt ran the fastest 5-kilometer time for Ballard, finishing 16th out of 200 runners in 19 minutes, 48.1 seconds.

“She ran a very smooth and calm race, which allowed her to hold her own,” Barth said.

Freshman Paityn Noe came in 19th at 19:51.1. Cailin Maher took 37th in 20:24.9.

Shewaye Johnson, Ballard’s usual top runner, was a little off her usual pace during the meet. She finished 40th in 20:29.1.

“She probably went out a bit too fast and tried to keep pace with some very talented runners,” Barth said. “She also was without spikes today, which probably cost her quite a bit of time also in the slick and mucky conditions.”

Brooke Loew came in 84th in 21:22.0 as the last runner to score for Ballard. Rachel Wohlgemuth was right behind in 85th with a 21:23.3 showing, Josie Fleischmann took 95th in 21:32.3 and Meg Rietz came in 145th after crossing the finish line in 22:32.0.

“I am very proud of these girls and what we can potentially do the remainder of the season,” Barth said. “We belong in the conversation as one of the state’s best girls’ programs no matter what class. If we can make some adjustments to our starts (slow some down a bit and speed a few others up) and get our five through seven pack closer to the top four, we can be really, really good.”

Ames senior Camille Jackson, the No. 8 runner in 4A, was the girls’ individual champion at the meet. Jackson ran an 18:22.1 to beat Linn-Mar’s Micah Poellett — the No. 1 runner in 4A - by over 25 seconds for the title.

The Ballard girls will be running in another big-time meet this upcoming Saturday in Minnesota. The Bombers will be competing at the Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul.

Final girls’ team scores: 1. Fremont (Neb.) 124 points, 2. Johnston 139, 3. Papillion-Lavista (Neb.) 145, 4. Waukee 160, 5. DCG 195, 6. Ballard 196, 7. Lincoln Southwest (Neb.) 209, 8. Linn-Mar 215, 9. Southeast Polk 223, 10. Iowa City High 275, 11. St. James Academy (Kan.) 337, 12. Cedar Rapids Prairie 373, 13. Des Moines Roosevelt 377, 14. Omaha Marian (Neb.) 387, 15. Dowling Catholic 400, 16. Millard West (Neb.) 403, 17. Gretna (Neb.) 439, 18. Shawnee Mission South (Kan.) 502, 19. Sioux City North 487, 20. Shawnee Mission Northwest (Kan.) 502, 21. Ames 543, 22. Davenport Assumption 547, 23. Pella 582, 24. Marshalltown 652, 25. Lee’s Summit (Mo.) 737.

Individual results

Ballard (5-kilometer): 16. Ellie Twedt, 19:48.1; 19. Paityn Noe, 19:51.1; 37. Caitlin Maher, 20:24.9; 40. Shewaye Johnson, 20:29.1; 84. Brooke Loewe, 21:22.0; 85. Rachel Wohlgemuth, 21:23.3; 95. Josie Fleischmann, 21:32.3; 145. Meg Rietz, 22:32.0.