TOLEDO - Marshalltown head coach Tim Bell expected his state qualifying runner Zach Wells to win the South Tama Invitational on Monday. The long-time cross country coach also expected his team to finish in the top two spots.
Wells easily claimed the win, but the Bobcats nearly missed out on a top two finish. Even so, it was mission accomplished as the boys were nine points off Class 3A No. 6 Grinnell and three points ahead of Vinton-Shellsburg in second place.
"We always expect to do well, and if we weren't in the top two then we wouldn't have performed well," Bell said. "Zach ran well but we have to cut the spread between our runners down. It is too much right now to compete at a high level."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown High School junior Nathan Phillips, right, finished just behind teammate Sam Johnson and just ahead of Trae Peterson, background, during cross country action at the South Tama County Invite at Otter Creek Lake Park in Toledo. Phillips was 18th overall in a time of 19 minutes, 9 seconds, and the Bobcats took second as a team.
Wells won the race easily. He led the entire way and finished 14 seconds ahead of two Vinton-Shellsburg runners who tied for second. Wells hit the line in 17 minutes, 49 seconds and had a mile pace of 5:44.
"It was good for Zach to be able to run out front," Bell said. "That will help his confidence."
The Bobcats had one other runner in the top 10 as senior Daniel Talbert was eighth overall in 18:20.
Team Standings - 1. Grinnell 55, 2. Marshalltown 64, 3. Vinton-Shellsburg 67, 4. East Marshall 85, 5. West Marshall 113, 6. South Tama County, 115, 7. Belle Plaine 182, 8. GMG 224.
Individual (top 10) - 1. Zach Wells, MHS, 17:49; 3. Ricky Jerav, V-S, 18:03; 3. Jordan Evans, V-S, 18:03; 4. Ben Terrones, EM, 18:04; 5. Luc Moisan, GRN, 18:06; 6. Nathan Bradley, WM, 18:11; 7. Joel Baumann, GRN, 18:15; 8. Daniel Talbert, MHS, 18:20; 9. Brady Ellenbecker, 18:28; 10. Robert Tyynismaa, STC, 18:29.
Marshalltown (64) - 1. Zach Wells, 17:49; 8. Daniel Talbert, 18:20; 17. Sam Johnson, 19:02; 18. Nathan Phillips, 19:09; 20. Trae Peterson, 19:12.
East Marshall (85) - 4. Ben Terrones, 18:04; 15. Nick Moorehead, 18:50; 21. Rob Petrie, 19:19; 22. Drew Schossow, 19:21; 24. Seth Webb, 19:30.
West Marshall (113) - 6. Nathan Bradley, 18:11; 11. Austin McCool, 18:33; 23. Cole White, 19:27; 37. Trenton Keislar, 20:36; 38. Hunter Wilkening, 20:37.
South Tama (115) - 9. Brady Ellenbecker, 18:28; 10. Robert Tyynismaa, 18:29; 31. Surrell Youngbear, 20:00; 32. Luis Perez, 20:07; 33. James Norton, 20:10.
GMG (224) - 43. Jeff Hughes, 21:51; 44. Josh Raymond, 22:18; 46. Logan Burt, 22:25; 48. Matthew Mengler, 22:41; 49. Dillon Slingluff, 22:55.
Meskwaki - 45. Mark Youngbear, 22:23; 61. Josh Papakee, 26:05.
North Tama - 56. Robert Young, 24:13
East Marshall scored the best finish among the smaller schools as the Mustangs took fourth with 85 points. They bested conference rivals West Marshall and South Tama by 28 and 30 points, respectively. GMG was eighth.
"We ran really well," East Marshall coach Christian Grandgenett said. "When you break it down to the teams in our conference, we came out on top."
East Marshall's five scorers all finished in the first 24 positions. Junior Ben Terrones was fourth overall at 18:04, and then sophomore Caleb Benzing was 14th, junior Rob Petrie was 21st, junior Drew Schossow 22nd and junior Seth Webb 24th.
Grandgenett said Webb is the key with how well the Mustangs do in the team standings. And he came through in a big way for East Marshall on Monday.
"He can make or break our team, and he ran well today," Grandgnett said. "We have a really good first four. Tonight, he came through and gave us a really good first five."
West Marshall scored two top-11 finishes as junior Nathan Bradley was sixth at 18:11 and senior Austin McCool was 11th at 18:33.
After that, the Trojans underperformed, according to coach Brian Weig.
"Our 3-4-5 runners were not where I wanted them to be tonight," Weig said. "We'll have to step it up there if we want to catch East Marshall. But they have a quality team. We'll have to find a way to stay with them."
South Tama scored two top-10 finishes but the other three scoring runners were 31st, 32nd and 33rd.
STC coach George Kuhter said changes are coming to the varsity lineup. Some junior varsity runners are finishing better than some of the varsity runners at this point so an adjustment is needed.
"We had a practice yesterday, and the ones that were there ran well today and the ones that weren't there, didn't run well today," Kuhter said. "Starting with our meet Saturday, I am going to bring up some of those younger runners who are performing better right now. We need to see where we are at with our seven best runners."
Senior Brady Ellenbecker was ninth overall in 18:28 and and sophomore Robert Tyynismaa was 10th in 18:29.
After Wells and Talbert, Marshalltown grabbed spots 17, 18 and 20 in the scoring column and the other two non-scoring runners - senior Alex Heinrichs and junior Hunter Barnard - were 27th and 29th. Sophomore Sam Johnson finished 17th in 19:02, while junior Nathan Phillips was 18th in 19:09 and sophomore Trae Peterson was 20th in 19:12.
Still, Bell feels like running this meet on a Monday is much better than practicing on a Monday. The program added this meet to their schedule last year to give the athletes more looks at competition.
"With where we are at right now, we have to learn how to run," Bell said. "We need more experience with racing. That's important as we find out where we are and how we are improving."
GMG had enough for a team and scored 224 points, while Meskwaki had just three runners in the field.
GMG's top finisher was sophomore Jeff Hughes in 43rd, while junior Josh Raymond was 44th. Senior Mark Youngbear was 45th, junior Matthew Mengler 48th and junior Dillon Slingluff 49th.
Meskwaki's top finisher was freshman Terrell Grant in 34th with a time of 20:27. Sophomore Josh Papakee crossed in 26:05.
Grinnell won the meet as all five scoring runners were in the top 16. Vinton-Shellsburg was three points off Marshalltown.