The Marshalltown girls cross country team saw two runners finish in the first three positions during the season-opening Marshalltown Earlybird Invitational on Thursday.
Even that, though, was not enough to claim a team title as Waterloo West had a little more depth in the end. The Bobcats did up second but were 12 points behind in the standings.
"We could have been more aggressive I think," Marshalltown head coach Doug Bacon said. "It's a work in progress and we don't have a ton of varsity experience."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown sophomore Rachel Blagg finished second overall in the team’s first meet of the season Thursday at Marshalltown Community College. The Bobcats placed second as a team behind champion Waterloo West.
Sophomore Rachel Blagg and junior Wynn Tan finished second and third, respectively, for the Bobcats, but Waterloo West ended up with the top spot as well as 6, 8, 13, 14 and 16. Marshalltown's next two runners were 10th and 17th, but the final scorer placed outside the top 20 in 22nd.
"They worked hard down the finish, but we need to figure out how to run hard for the entire race," Bacon said.
Waterloo West junior Sammie Sproul earned the individual title with a time of 16 minutes, 15 seconds. Blagg finished nine seconds off that time, while Tan battled for a third-place finish with a time of 16:53.
Team Standings - 1. Waterloo West 42, 2. Marshalltown 54, 3. Ottumwa 66, 4. Dike New-Hartford 79, 5. Webster City 136, 6. Grundy Center 157, 7. Waterloo East 213.
Individual (Top 10) - 1. Sammie Sprout, WW, 16:15; 2. Rachel Blagg, MHS, 16:24; 3. Wynn Tan, MHS, 16:53; 4. Kadi Wright, DNH, 16:54; 5. Lauren Sharp, DNH, 17:05; 6. Breanna Rodebush, WW, 17:25; 7. Caroline Owens, OTT, 17:31; 8. Ferida Nuhanovic, WW, 17:34; 9. Daylin Latham, OTT, 17:49; 10. Michaela Huey, MHS, 17:57.
MARSHALLTOWN (54) - 2. Rachel Blagg, 16:24; 3. Wynn Tan, 16:53; 10. Michaela Huey, 17:57; 17. Victoria Jones, 18:44; 23. Emma Runquist, 19:33.
GRUNDY CENTER (157) - 19. Hannah Stumberg, 19:11; 22. Erica Buck, 19:23; 46. Jes Ackerson, 20:52; 48. Jen Rust, 21:10; 53. Dalyn Maxson, 22:13.
SOUTH TAMA - 20. Kelsey Kupka, 19:14, 40. Regina Balderas, 20:18; 49. Naomi Hoskey, 21:22; 54. Erin Filloon, 22:28.
"Rachel made a tactical error in her race, but that will get better with more races and with more time," Bacon said. "Wynn Tan ran a really nice race for us."
Tan finished just a second ahead of fourth-place Kadi Wright, a freshman from Dike-New Hartford. Dike-New Hartford also grabbed the fifth spot as senior Lauren Sharp helped her team claim fourth place in the team standings.
Ottumwa ended up third with 66 points, Dike-New Hartford scored 79 points and Webster City, Grundy Center and Waterloo East rounded out the seven-team field. South Tama and Belle Plaine also competed in the race but did not have enough runners in the team race.
Marshalltown junior Michaela Huey placed 10th overall with a time of 17:57. The final two counting times came from junior Victoria Jones and senior Emma Runquist. Jones was 17th overall, while Runquist finished 23rd.
Other runners for Marshalltown's varsity included junior Abby Snyder (27th), freshman Ellyn Boland (28th) and junior Lily Larsen (38th).
Grundy Center finished with 157 points on the day as its two best runners were junior Hannah Stumberg in 19th and senior Erica Buck in 22nd. Stumberg crossed the line in 19:11, while Buck stopped the clock at 19:23.
"We wanted to find a baseline today since we knew we were going up against some much bigger schools," first-year Grundy Center head coach Chris Henely said. "It's hard to find good competition during practices, so we wanted to find someone to run with and do our best with that person."
Jes Ackerson was 46th overall, and the final two counting runners were freshman Dalyn Maxson (53rd) and freshman Kate Ross (58th). Senior Baylie Wrage also competed for the Spartans.
"I was really pleased with our efforts and attitudes," Henely said. "It was good for a first time out."
South Tama County also competed in the meet but did not have enough runners to compile a team score.
Senior Kelsey Kupka led the Trojans with a 20th place finish as she crossed the line in 19:14. Junior Regina Balderas was next in 40th. Sophomore Naomi Hoskey ended up 49th, while junior Erin Filloon finished 54th.
"We only have two seniors on our girls roster, so we are very young," STC cross country coach George Kuhter said. "We are just trying to figure things out right now. We need to know what we can do and go from there."