State Cross Country Preview


October 27th, 2011 by Jim Field

43 Individual Medal Winners Return to 33rd Annual Joint State Championship Meet

There are always numerous story lines in previewing the Joint Boys and Girls State Cross Country Championships which runs for the 33rd time Saturday at Kennedy Park north of Fort Dodge.  This year’s biggest story line in the “run for glory” could well be a record 43 medal winners returning from last fall’s extravaganza.
This year’s finale includes this fall’s top-rated teams and runners in each class and six schools that won titles a year ago. In addition 29 girls and 14 boys who took home individual medals last year return. Enrollment and co-op changes have caused some minor re-shuffling from a year ago. Those changes mainly affect individuals.
Three individual girls’ champions are back, but classification changes have them now in two classes. In Class 3A Waverly-Shell Rock junior Anna Holdiman will try to ward off the challenges of a field that includes six medal winners from 2010, plus last year’s Class 2A champion Lauren Benzing of Solon.  Six other medal winners return in Class 2A where the 2010 Class 1A champion Emily Franks of Northeast, Goose Lake and Class 3A fourth place finisher Kelsey Kirchoff of Denver-Tripoli change classes. The small school field still has seven of last year’s top 10, plus Sibley-Ocheyedan Leah Seivert who was the Class 2A runner-up, and Arden Betzer of Springville-Central City, fourth in 2A last fall.  On the boys’ side, while no defending champion returns, nine of 14 returning medal winners return in the top six of their respective class, and each of the four divisions is loaded with talent.
The meet annually attracts over 5,000 cross country enthusiasts and approximately 1,000 athletes making it what is believed to be the largest of its kind in America. This fall is the 82nd year the IHSAA has conducted a State Cross Country Meet, and it is the 46th time the IGHSAU has crowned state champions. Each is among the oldest state association sponsored meets in the nation. The first 13 co-ed meets were at Veenker Memorial Golf Course in Ames before moving to Kennedy Park in Fort Dodge twenty years ago.
Since the move to Fort Dodge, Eastern Iowa schools have dominated the team titles, winning 100 of 121. However, the West has won 49 of the last 80 individual gold medals. Those numbers may belie the fact that this meet always has its share of surprises and quality competition has long been its calling card.
For the first time, two wheelchair athletes will compete in their own division – Jordan Houbeshell of Linn-Mar, Marion; and Drake Sachsenmeier from Camanche.
A total of 986 athletes – 497 boys and 489 girls representing 185 teams comprise the field. Thirty schools qualified both their boys and girls teams. Following is a preview of each class. IATC ratings are those at the time of the State Qualifying Meets.

Class 4A Girls
SQM Champions: Cedar Falls; Dowling Catholic, WDM; Linn-Mar, Marion; Pleasant Valley; Waukee ; No. 1 Rated Team: Dowling Catholic, WDM; Last Year’s Top 4: Dowling Catholic, WDM 60; Iowa City, City High 109; Valley, WDM 127; Pleasant Valley 132 ; Returning Runners from 2010 Top 10: (2) Allison Gregg, Cedar Falls; (5) Karrisa Schweizer, Dowling Catholic, WDM; (6) Carolyn Newhouse, Linn-Mar; (7) Mahnee Watts, Bettendorf; (8) Mickey Malmgren, Pleasant Valley; (9) Kate Kaster, Clinton; (10) Maddie Reynolds, Pleasant Valley.
Four-time defending champion and top-rated Dowling Catholic, WDM is the only “west” school to win the large school crown in the history of the joint championships. If they are to repeat they will join 11 time champion Iowa City High who ran to five straight titles from 1989 through 1993. A quality field joins the chase led by second-ranked Linn-Mar, tradition-rich cross town rival Valley, WDM (No. 3), and power laden Cedar Falls (fifth), Pleasant Valley (sixth), Iowa City High (No. 7) and Iowa City West (eighth). No. 4 Waukee, upstart Cedar Rapids Kennedy and No. 9 Bettendorf also loom in the pack of contenders. The Maroons placed all seven runners among the top 10 in outscoring Valley in the State Qualifying Meet. Freshman Grace Gibbons led the pack that had a mere 28 seconds separating their top five runners. Returning from last year’s title squad are Karrisa Schweizer, the state’s top-rated runner who was fifth in 2010; Vanessa Miller, Alexandra Vaughn, Diane Hubbell an
d Addison Schumacher. Hannah Thomas, another freshman, rounds out the squad and was sixth in the SQM. Linn-Mar, Marion has a strong contingent led by Carolyn Newhouse (sixth last year after two other top 18 finishes), Rachel Perry, Morgan Uridil, Maddie Saville, and 2009 fifth place finisher Brooklyn Kaschel. All four were top 10 finishers in the SQM first place finish. Valley has a deep team led by Lydia Saggau, Grace Vander Weide and senior Kate Maxcy, twice a top 15 finisher. Iowa City, West is paced by Molly Leveille (9th in 2009 and 13th last fall) plus Pombie Silverman and Ashlynn Yokum. Pleasant Valley has come on strong behind Mickey Malmgren (8th last fall) and Maddie Reynolds (10th in 2010). Addie Royer and Kaley Ciluffo were second and eighth in the SQM and help make the Spartans a genuine threat. Iowa City High is solid again led by last year’s 11th place finisher Meg Richardson. Cedar Falls is paced by last fall’s runner-up Allison Gregg and Brianna King. Waukee
returns five last year’s ninth place team and is led by veteran Emily Brush plus two freshmen – Erika Lewis and Brianna Young. Balanced Cedar Rapids, Kennedy has had a strong surge this fall behind Alyssa Averhoff, Jessica Redman and Katie Wampole.
In addition to those above, the gold medal chase will be competitive and will include Bettendorf’s Mahnee Watts, seventh last year after being 15th in 2009 and Anna Peer (13th in 2009, but missed last year’s meet); Clinton’s Kate Kaster who took ninth a year ago; Des Moines, Roosevelt’s Emma Huston and Ames’ Courtney Martin.

Class 4A Boys
SQM Champions: Cedar Falls, Dowling Catholic, WDM; Iowa City West; Pleasant Valley; Ames;  No. 1 Rated Team: Dowling Catholic, WDM; Last Year’s Top 4: Prairie, Cedar Rapids 65; Dowling Catholic, WDM 97; Cedar Falls 118; Valley, WDM 125;  Returning Runners from 2010 Top 10: (5) Cole Decker, Dowling Catholic, WDM; (9) Brook Price, Iowa City, City High
With 13 of the 15-rated teams qualifying, including each of last year’s top four, this class promises to be a scramble for team medals. Eight of the survivors are in the East, which has won 26 of the last 32 big school races. Only Des Moines Roosevelt’s three straight (2001-03) mars the East’s dominance since 1990. Top-rated Dowling Catholic, WDM was runner-up a year ago and seeks to end the East’s dominance. The Maroons have two titles to their credit and last won in 1985. They will wear the favorite tag based on overall depth, returning five from last year’s team, led by Cole Decker, who was fifth in last year’s meet and ranked sixth in the state.  Their first six finishers were in the top 10 at the SQM and were separated by just 45 seconds.  Decker, Jeff DeRocher, Jason Thomas, Brian Wahlig, Patrick Kinley and Spencer Clark were too much for No. 11 Valley, WDM and the state’s top runner, Ben Anderson (13th in 2010) and friends,  to overcome.  No. 2 Cedar Falls placed f
ive runners in the top 10 at the SQM also and will be looking for its fourth title and first since back-to-back wins in 2004 and 2005. The Tigers have a “pack mentality” which has served past champions well. Only 27 seconds separates their top five runners, who are led by Matthew Adrian, Adam Streicher and Jaime Zarte (20th in 2010). Mitch Hammer and Tim Sevick round out the Tigers’ top five. In one of the closest SQM, No. 6 Iowa City, West edged third-rated Linn-Mar, Marion and defending champion Prairie, Cedar Rapids (10th) at Marshalltown. Only nine points separated the three teams. The Trojans, led by Daniel Gardarsson and Isaac Jensen, have only 39 seconds separating their top five runners. Linn-Mar is young and is paced by sophomore Josh Evans and last fall’s 16th place finisher Chase Grabau. Prairie’s reloading effort has been led by Jacob Aune and Mitch Pritts. Pleasant Valley has given an indication that they could figure heavily into the title chase. The Spartans,
ranked at number seven won titles in 2006, 2007 and 2008, have just one senior and took their SQM over Iowa City, City High and Burlington. PV is led by Caleb Drake, Tony Meyer and David Zimmer. The Little Hawks’ line-up features Brook Price, who was ninth in last year’s meet after a top 25 finish as a freshman in 2009. Michael Hart is the number two runner for City High.  Fourth-rated Ames is back with one of its strongest teams in recent year. The Little Cyclones have won six titles, with the last being in 1989. They are looking for their best finish since being fourth in 1999. Jack Espeset is the top runner for Ames followed by Ben Forney and Jackson Griffith.  Only 37 seconds separates their first five finishers. Not to be counted out in the race for team trophies and medals are fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington and 8th rated Waukee. Washington battled Cedar Falls in the SQM before bowing by 11 points. They are led by Robert Hogg and Etienne Nzoyisaba, who was 17th la
st fall. Waukee, another team that runs as a pack, is led by seniors Riley Wattier and Kyle Nuehring.
In addition to the above runners, who figure heavily into the individual gold medal chase, add Bettendorf’s Matt Butler (15th in 2010) to the mix.

Class 3A Girls
SQM Champions: Solon; Harlan Community; Pella; Bishop Heelan, Sioux City; Decorah; No. 1 Rated Team: Assumption, Davenport; Last Year’s Top 4: Wahlert, Dubuque 81; Decorah 95; Pella 111 Garner-Hayfield/West Hancock/Ventura 112; Returning Runners from 2010 Top 10: (1) Anna Holdiman, Waverly-Shell Rock; (2) Madison Waymire, Dallas Center-Grimes; (4) Kelsey Kirchoff, Denver-Tripoli (is in 2A this year); (6) Gabi Meirick, Pella; (7) Ali Krogman, Atlantic; (8) Erica Grubbs, Assumption, Davenport; (9) Madison Weekly, Benton Community. Note – Last year’s 2A Champion Lauren Benzing of Solon is in Class 3A this fall.
In spite of often not being the top-rated team two-time defending champion Wahlert also has a third place finish in the last three years. They are No. 6 this year as they go for their fourth overall title in a field that oozes with quality. Qualified are the top seven teams from 2010 and each of the top 15 ranked teams from this fall. So cross country aficionados, grab your crystal ball. Your prediction may be as good as anyone else’s. New to the field is No. 2 Solon, who was fourth in 2A in 2010. The Spartans threw down the gauntlet by winning over top-ranked Assumption in the SQM.   No. 3 Decorah, who topped Wahlert in the SQM, has been first (2007), second (the last two falls) and fourth (2006 and 2008) in the past five “lass round-ups.” If that is not enough of a tease of what could unfold Pella, Harlan and Bishop Heelan, Sioux City each won SQM meets. Harlan’s triumph was a scant eight points which separated the Cyclones from Dallas Center-Grimes and Shenandoah-Essex.
Assumption’s talented clan is led by last fall’s eighth place finisher Erica Grubbs and Rebecca Mallon.  Solon counters with 2010 2A champion Lauren Benzing, along with Alex Smith and Tayvia Hansen. Decorah, who out-ran Wahlert by 26 points in the SQM, has a solid group led by Shana Kelly (17th a year ago) and ninth graders Amanda Taylor and Gara Lonning. Wahlert returns Lauren Rusch a two-time top 15 finisher; and veteran Tessa Leytem. Bishop Heelan boasts an improving clan paced by Lindsay Joyce, Carson Leiting and Madi Peck. Pella is rated eighth but has a strong 1-2 duo in Gabi Meirick (sixth last fall) and Hannah Martin. Only a minute separates the Dutch’s top five finishers. Dallas Center-Grimes have one of the state’s best in Madison Waymire who was second as a freshman a year ago. Harlan’s upset win was led by Jess Feldman and Marissa Klindt. Williamsburg and Shenandoah-Essex could be dark horses in the team race. Both have solid teams. Williamsburg is paced by Nat
asha Bruer, Shannon Mullnix and Kira Savage, while Shenandoah-Essex is paced by Mariah Johnson, Megan Hart and Alexis Saner.
Aside from the aforementioned runners, the gold medal chase is expected to include defending champion Anna Holdiman of Waverly-Shell Rock who was also fifth in 2009; Atlantic’s Ali Krogman, who has been fifth, first and seventh the past three seasons; last fall’s ninth place finisher Madison Weekly of Benton Community; and MOC-Floyd Valley’s Bethany Dykstra.

Class 3A Boys
SQM Champions: Mount Vernon-Lisbon; Boone; Pella; Bishop Heelan, Sioux City; Decorah; No. 1 Rated Team: Pella ; Last Year’s Top 4: Wahlert, Dubuque 118; Knoxville 122; Boone 134; Grinnell 136; Returning Runners from 2010 Top 10: (3) Zach Buchheit, Pella; (4) Connor Smock, Mount Vernon-Lisbon; (7) Daniel Huff, Waverly-Shell Rock; (9) Brien Nugent, Wahlert, Dubuque; (10) Nathan Carr, Grinnell. Sean Skilleren, Shenandoah-Essex (8th in 2A last fall is competing in Class 3A this fall)
This boys’ division usually rates as one of the most difficult to predict. Five individual medal winners from 2010 with another moving up from Class 2A, the top four team finishers from a year ago are among 12 of the top-rated teams that have qualified. Number 1 Pella and second ranked Boone won SQM along with fourth-ranked Decorah, number five Bishop Heelan, Sioux City and ninth-ranked Mount Vernon-Lisbon. Defending champion and third-ranked Wahlert, Dubuque was edged by Decorah by 12 points. Pella, the 2009 champions, comfortably out-pointed seventh rated Grinnell and enjoyed the return of SQM champion Zach Buchheit (6th in 2009 and third last fall) who had missed some of the season with injuries. Boone with second and third place finishes the past two seasons primed it chances with a 24-point victory over number 6 Glenwood, who has rebuilt after graduation took its top two runners. Boone is led by Chandler Austin (11th last year), Nick Yaeger (17th in 2010), Albert Meie
r and Scott Hansen with 40 seconds separating their second and fifth runners.  Mount Vernon-Lisbon won the 2005 crown but has not had a top four finish since in spite of boasting one of the state’s best in Connor Smock, fourth last year, runner-up in 2009 and 11th in 2008. James Wenzel and Garrett Ruth lead a pack that bolsters MV-L’s chances. Decorah’s SQM win was triggered by four runners finishing in the top 10 – Patrick Larson, Parker Beard, Thomas Knobbe and Kyle Hosting, who run within 40 seconds of each other.  Wahlert meanwhile is led by Buddy Franson and Brien Nugent (9th in 2010). Bishop Heelan has not won a title and their best finish was a 1971 runner-up finish. The Crusaders will rely on Alec Devries, Michael Heffernan and Tommy Thelen and four team runners to alter their fortunes. Those six schools are expected to battle it out for the three trophies, but the quality doesn’t end there. Fort Madison led by Isaac Steffensmeier and Grinnell led by last year’s 10th
place finisher Nathan Carr could rally their teams to trophy territory.
The gold medal chase will include those runners listed above plus last year’s seventh place finisher Daniel Huff of Waverly-Shell Rock; Sean Skilleren from Shenandoah-Essex, who was 8th in 2A last fall; and Mark Abraham of Glenwood (21st in 2010).

Class 2A Girls
SQM Champions: North Polk; Roland-Story; Northeast, Goose Lake; Denver-Tripoli; Unity Christian, Orange City ;  No. 1 Rated Team: Unity Christian, Orange City; Last Year’s Top 4:  Union Community, La Porte City 100; Unity Christian 107; Regina, Iowa City 112; Solon 116 (in 3A this fall); Returning Runners from 2010 Top 10: (1) Lauren Benzing, Solon (in Class 3A this fall); (2) Leah Seivert, Sibley-Ocheyedan (in Class 1A this fall); (4) Arden Betzer, Springville/Central City (in Class 1A this fall); (5) Sadie Timms, Gilbert; (7) Brittany Frush, Union Community; (9) Cassie Stuflick, Danville/New London; (10) Kayla Byl, Unity Christian. Class 1A champion in 2010 Emily Franks of Northeast, Goose Lake is in Class 2A this fall. Kelsey Kirchoff, Denver-Tripoli (4th in 3A last year is in 2A this year).
Four time defending champion Union Community, La Porte City did not qualify but top-rated Unity Christian, Orange City leads a strong field, in a class that historically gives prognosticators fits. The top ten-ranked teams each qualified and that could well induce a chase where anything could happen. Unity Christian was second last fall and fourth in 2009 and has 11 top four finishes since the Joint Championships began. However, their last title came in 1994. No. 2 Regina, Iowa City has been third each of the last two years. Third-rated Hudson has quietly worked their way into a strong cross country tradition and was sandwiched between Roland-Story (No. 5) and Gilbert (ranked sixth) in a tight SQM which had nine points separating third from first. After being in Class 3A, Denver is home in 2A and holds down the fourth spot edging South Winneshiek and North Fayette in the SQM. No. 7 North Polk was a SQM champion as was Northeast, Goose Lake, moving up from 1A.  Unity Christ
ian survived a tough SQM by outdistancing Sioux Center and Western Christian. Kayla Byl, who was tenth a year ago and 13th and 18th the previous two seasons, leads the Knights, along with freshman Kassidy De Jong and veteran state performer Stacy Van Regenmorter.  Sioux Center, which was unranked, got a great effort from SQM champion sophomore Miranda Moss, plus Bethany Larson and Denae Doornink, members of the Warriors’ eighth place team in 2010.  Regina has three runners returning from last year’s third place team, which was just 12 points off the lead. Megan McCusker was 11th last fall and 12th in 2009. Also back from last year are Gabby Iverson and Grace Larew.  Hudson has rebuilt behind Lexi Kolterman. Denver was eighth in 3A last year and has a solid pack led Kelsey Kirchoff who was fourth after taking tenth in 2009. Roland-Story has Sarah Lunn and Anna Halstead leading a solid corps of pack runners, while Gilbert’s Sadie Timms, fifth last fall as a freshman, keys the
Tigers’ hopes. North Polk’s overall balance allowed them to dominate the SQM as Maria Claussen and Sybbie Sears showed the way with second and third place efforts. Northeast, Goose Lake competed in Class 1A last fall and has transitioned to the 2A ranks behind the elite feet of Emily Franks who was the 1A champion after being fifth in 2A in 2009. She is joined this fall by Mariah Casey (12th last fall) and Joyce Kaczinski.
With 2010 champion Solon’s Benzing moving to Class 3A and Sibley-Ocheyedan runner-up Leah Seivert moving to Class 1A with fourth place finisher Arden Betzer of Springville, the individual gold medal hunt should be special.  Figuring into that picture with the previous mention runners are Union’s 2010 sixth place finisher Brittany Frush, who was also 12th in 2009, along with Danville-New London’s Cassie Stufflick, who was ninth last fall. Not to be counted out is SQM champion Bailey O’Hare of OA-BCIG or Lorena Temple of Camanche, who has two top 15 finishes.

Class 2A Boys
SQM Champions: North Polk; Gilbert; Regina, Iowa City; Monticello; Spirit Lake;  No. 1 Rated Team: Monticello; Last Year’s Top 4: Regina, Iowa City 106; Spirit Lake 125; Solon 137; South Winneshiek, Calmar 148;  Returning Runners from 2010 Top 10: (2) Keith Byers, Spirit Lake; (4) Will Norris, Spirit Lake; (6) Mason Powers, Gilbert. Sean Skilleren, Shenandoah-Essex (was 8th last fall and is in Class 3A this fall)
Spirit Lake won titles in 2008 and 2009 and took second in 2010 and the third-rated Indians emerged from a talented northwest Iowa meet, where they bumped No. 2 Unity Christian for the SQM title. That toughness of competition may play well with the remaining four SQM champions posting comfortable wins.  Spirit Lake is powered by Will Norris and Keith Byers who were fourth and second respectively a year ago. Each has two top 10 finishes in their career and is rated 1-2 in the state’s individual rankings.  The next three Spirit Lake runners are separated by 39 seconds. That was a deciding factor in stopping second-ranked Unity Christian by two points in the SQM.  Unity Christian is led by Caleb Bakker (17th last year and third -rated this fall), Mitchell Ten Nepel and Nathan Reichert. Unity is a three-time champion, with their last coming in 1983 (1A). Top-ranked Monticello won in 2007 after second place finishes in 2002 and 2006. The Panthers, who were fifth last fall, plac
ed five runners among the top ten in SQM led by Ben Ahlrichs and Michael Melchert’s 1-2 finish, with Dallas Lumpa, JJ Frawley and Tiler Streets completing top ten finishes. Only 44 seconds span their first through fifth runners. Defending champion and No. 6 Regina, Iowa City has eight titles and two runner-up finishes to its credit and a remarkable 17 finishes in the top four since 1993.  This year the Regals are led by David Crompton, Brennan Bogert (11th in 2010) and Liam Hartley. No. 5 Gilbert has a veteran performer in Mason Powers (6th last year) and senior Andy Mayes and freshmen Wesley Greder and Thomas Pollard follow. Those four are within a minute of each other making the Tigers’ a solid top three threat after last year’s eighth place finish. Seventh-ranked North Polk placed its top five runners in the top seven at the SQM and appears primed after last fall’s 14th place finish. Thad Surbra, Peter Smith, Seth Harjes, Reed Smith and Ryley Sandberg are separated by onl
y 52 seconds.
The individual medal chase will include the runners mention above along with Josh Lyons of South Winneshiek (16th in 2010), Denver’s Shane Kirchoff; Okoboji, Milford’s Joe Hilsabeck; Joshua Schriever of George-Little Rock/Central Lyon; Tyler Randall of Osage; Trevor Fouts of Hudson, Chris Huling of Hampton-Dumont and Jefferson-Scranton’s Andrew Miller.

Class 1A Girls
SQM Champions: Eagle Grove; Pekin; Griswold; Sioux Central, Sioux Rapids; North Linn, Troy Mills; No. 1 Rated Team: Pekin; Last Year’s Top 4: Pekin 45; Earlham 87; Tri-Center, Neola 91; Prince of Peace, Clinton 155. Returning Runners from 2009 Top 10:  (1) Emily Franks, Northeast, Goose Lake (competing in Class 2A this fall); (2) Celsey Conger, Pekin; (3) Brenna Conger, Pekin; (5) Sarah Lampe, Marquette Catholic, Bellevue; (7) Audrey Griffin, Prince of Peace, Clinton; (8) Tiffany Shepherd, Corning; (9) Lauren Sharp, Dike-New Hartford; (10) Megan Deist, Audubon. Leah Seivert, Sibley-Ocheyedan (2 Class 1A last fall is in 1A this year); Arden Betzer, Springville/Central City (4 in Class 2A last year is in 1A this fall)
In the previous three seasons, top-ranked Pekin has been dominant. They recorded a Class 2A runner-up finish in 2009 around 2008 and 2010 Class 1A titles and carry the “team to beat” label into this year’s championship.  Pekin racked up 45 points a year ago to win easily. Eleven other rated teams this fall survived the SQM process including Eagle Grove, North Linn, Troy Mills, Griswold and Earlham, last year’s runner-up. The Panthers edged Earlham by 10 points in the SQM which could be a factor in the championships.  Pekin is led by veteran Celsey Conger, a senior who was runner-up last fall, after being seventh in 2A in 2009 and fifth in 1A in 2008. Twin sister Brenna was third last year after being 11th and 15th in two previous state meets.  Earlham returns five from last year’s squad including Abbey Murphy who was 11th as a freshman and Hannah Murphy. Second ranked Eagle Grove; third-rated North Linn and No. 4 Griswold also loom as threats to the Panthers. Tiffany Chris
tensen, ranked fourth among the 1A individuals, paces the Eagle Grove pack, while North Linn is led by freshman Nicole Miller with the next four runners being separated only by 14 seconds. Griswold boasts the top-ranked runner in 1A in freshman Rebekah Topham, who has been outstanding in her debut season. Her supporting task includes four pack runners who are separated by a minute. Bishop Garrigan, Algona (6th), Nashua-Plainfield (7th) and Sioux Central (8th) each loom as top-three challengers in the meet. No. 9 Corning and 11th-rated Prince of Peace, Clinton each have a tradition of running well in State Meet competition.
The individual chase to the tape could be one of the best in the four girls’ races with several other quality performers. Topham faces another unbeaten runner in Leah Seivert from Sibley-Ocheyedan, whose last loss was her second place finish in Class 2A last year. Springville’s Arden Betzer was fourth in 2A last fall and won’t back down.  Audrey Griffin of Prince of Peace, Clinton was seventh last year and looking for her fourth straight top seven finish. Sarah Lampe of Marquette Catholic, Bellevue was fifth last year and 12th in 2009. Corning’s Tiffany Shepherd has been seventh and eighth in the last two state competitions, while Turkey Valley’s Jenny Kuennen was fifth in 2009 and 17th last year.  Dike-New Hartford’s Lauren Sharp was ninth last year after finishing 13th in 2009. Audubon’s Megan Deist finished tenth a year ago and Prairie Valley, Gowrie’s Jaclyn Rittgers was 15th and Erin Reedy of Bishop Garrigan, Algona was 18th. Jesup has two fine runners in Sammy Sproul
(13th last fall) and Lindsey Kite.
Class 1A Boys
SQM Champions: St. Edmond, Fort Dodge; BCLUW, Conrad; St. Albert, Council Bluffs; West Lyon, Inwood; Highland, Riverside; No. 1 Rated Team: BCLUW, Conrad; Last Year’s Top 4: Northern University High, Cedar Falls 107; Central Elkader 140; BCLUW, Conrad 142; Northeast, Goose Lake 158 (Northeast is in class 2A this fall);  Returning Runners from 2010 Top 10: (4) Levi Storjohann, BCLUW, Conrad; (6) Bennett Moser, Wapello; (7) Josh Sindelar, St. Albert, Council Bluffs; (10) Sloan Beninga, Dike-New Hartford
This division normally has a surprise or two and there is little reason to think 2011 will be different. Eleven of 15 rated teams qualified and a case can be made for each of them. Furthermore four individuals who medaled a year ago return and could spark their teams into the limelight. Defending champion Northern University High did not make this year’s field. BCLUW, Conrad is top ranked and the Comets are no stranger to the competition having taken third last fall and runner-up in 2009. The school is still in search of its first title. The Comets have a veteran contingent led by senior Levi Storjohann, who was fourth a year ago and tenth in 2009. He is the state’s top-rated runner in 1A. Derek Coulter and Clark Jackley head the supporting cast.  Second-rated St. Edmond, Fort Dodge is led by state meet veteran Nate Kolacia, the second-rated individual and junior side-kick Seth Reel. The next three Gaels are separated by only 24 seconds. Kolacia was 18th in 2A last year af
ter being 16th in 2009. St. Albert, Council Bluffs is third-rated and the Falcons are strong behind Josh Sindelar was seventh last fall. His chase pack of four scorers have a 55 second spread, led by junior Scott Theulen who was seventh in the SQM, when they bested fourth rated Riverside, Oakland and No. 5 Guthrie Center. Riverside has a strong crew led by seniors Cade Cleveland and John Gunderson (13th a year ago) and junior Ean Patrick leading a pack of runners that stay with 58 seconds of each other. Guthrie Center is led by Jordan Christensen. West Lyon, Inwood is seventh and bested No.6 Trinity Christian, Hull in the SQM. The Wildcats have a strong tandem in Micah Bajema and Connor Blom and a 25 second spread between their third and fifth runners. Trinity Christian counters with SQM champion Alex Van Ginkel and Colton Hoksbergen. No. 8 Dike-New Hartford has a strong tradition and is led by Ian Darland and Sloan Beninga who was tenth last fall and 18th in 2009. Wapello i
s unranked but has last year’s sixth place finisher Ben Moser showing the way.
Also expected to be in the individual gold medal hunt are T.J. Bower (ranked third) of Nodaway Valley, West Monona’s Jacob Willey, Brandon Culmore of NUH, Cedar Falls; Drew Schlitz of Hinton, Emmit Wheatley of Adair-Casey and Tanner Wanders of North Mahaska.

(This information appears in the State Cross Country Meet Program)