Returning state qualifier Zach Wells got out fast in the season-opening cross country meet Thursday at Marshalltown Community College.
Even though Wells finished eighth overall, that was exactly the kind of race he needed to run, according to Marshalltown head coach Tim Bell.
"He needs to get out early because you have to be able to catch and stay with the other best runners in the state," Bell said. "And if you get out slow against those guys, you'll have no shot to catch them in the end."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown senior Daniel Talbert, center, finished 14th at the Marshalltown Earlybird Invitational at Marshalltown Community College on Thursday evening. He was second on the Bobcats’ team and helped his squad place third overall.
Wells was the team's top runner Thursday in the Marshalltown Earlybird Invitational as he crossed with a time of 18 minutes, 9 seconds.
"He'll figure out how to maintain that pace he was on early as the season goes," Bell said.
Daniel Talbert also finished well in 14th, while sophomore Sam Johnson's 20th place finish helped the Bobcats secure third place in the team standings.
Team Standings - 1. Waterloo West 23, 2. Webster City 83, 3. Marshalltown 93, 4. Dike-New Hartford 95, 5. Ottumwa 118, 6. South Tama 135, 7. Grundy Center 207, 8. Belle Plaine 208, 9. Waterloo East 262.
Individual (Top 10) - 1. Anthony Ohl, WW, 17:00; 2. Alex Hottle, WW, 17:07, 3. Cody McConnell, OTT, 17:24; 4. Tanner Smith, WW, 17:30; 5. Charlie Altfillisch, 17:42, 6. John Crew, DNH, 17:44; 7. Steven Baridon, WW, 17:50; 8. Zach Wells, MHS, 18:09; 9. Mitch Black, WW, 18:13; 10. Robert Tyynismaa, STC, 18:20.
MARSHALLTOWN (93) - 8. Zach Wells, 18:09; 14. Daniel Talbert, 18:46; 20. Sam Johnson, 19:08; 25. Hunter Barnard, 19:35; 26. Nathan Phillips, 19:41.
SOUTH TAMA (135) - 10. Robert Tyynismaa, 18:20; 21. Brady Ellenbecker, 19:15; 27. Surrell Youngbear, 19:46; 36. James Norton, 20:35; 63. Taylen Anderson, 22:40.
GRUNDY CENTER (207) - 19. Espen Cleveland, 19:02; 58. Tyler Harken, 22:07; 64. Samuel McKendree, 22:59; 65. James Chungu 23:06; 74. Ian Alexia, 26:41.
The Bobcats finished with 93 points, which was 10 points behind second-place Webster City. Waterloo West ran away with the team title, scoring 23 points, placing all five scoring runners in the top 10 and grabbing the top two spots.
"They have a nice team, and I am not surprised they ran well," Bell said. "I would have hoped we could have ran better, but we had some question marks coming in that I was unsure about."
Fourth place on the day went to Dike-New Hartford and Ottumwa, South Tama, Grundy Center, Belle Plaine and Waterloo East rounded out the team scoring.
Dike-New Hartford was just two points behind Marshalltown in fourth. Ottumwa had two runners in the top five but the next best runner finished 34th. South Tama managed to sneak a runner into the top 10, while Grundy Center finished just one point ahead of Belle Plaine for seventh in the nine-team field.
"It was a time trial for us today," South Tama head coach George Kuhter said. "I took the kids who never ran before and put them on JV regardless of their times. Overall, we ran well, but our inexperience did show."
South Tama was led by sophomore Robert Tyynismaa, who placed 10th and crossed the line in 18:20. Senior Brady Ellenbecker was next in 21st place with a time of 19:15. Junior Surrell Youngbear ended up 27th and the final two scoring runners were senior James Norton in 36th and junior Taylen Anderson in 63rd.
First-year Grundy Center coach Chris Henely was pleased with his team's efforts in the first meet of the season.
"We need to find out where we are at and running against some bigger schools will help that," Henely said. "I was happy for a first time out."
Grundy Center was led by junior Espen Cleveland, who placed 19th and crossed the line 19:02.
"He was very good for us today," Henely said. "We expect him to be top 10 in most of our other smaller meets and we think he can make a run at state."
Senior Tyler Harken was 58th overall for Grundy Center, while senior Samuel McKendree was 64th.
Marshalltown juniors Hunter Barnard and Nathan Phillips were neck-and-neck most of the way. Barnard took 25th in 19:35, while Phillips was 26th in 19:42.
"We needed to see where we were at today, and we have plenty of room to get better," Bell said. "And we hope to continue to get better as the season goes on."
Several other Bobcat runners also competed on the varsity but did not score points for the team standings. Those runners included junior Andrew Potter (31st), junior Jacob Shirar (33rd), sophomore Andrew Walker (41st), senior Joseph Metzger (43rd) and sophomore Tyler Petersen (51st).
Bell said improving will start in practices.
"We need to work harder in practices," he said. "This might have been a wake up call for some of the runners, and hopefully that wake up call helps us in the future meets. This meet gives us something to look at, and it was a good start, but we need to get better."
The top two runners were junior Anthony Ohl and senior Alex Hottle, both of Waterloo West. Ohl won the race in 17:0, and Hottle was seven seconds behind. Junior Cody McConnell of Ottumwa was third in 17:24 and then Waterloo West senior Tanner Smith hit the line in 17:30. The final spot in the top five went to Ottumwa senior Charlie Altfillisch in 17:42.