MASON CITY - Zach Wells and Daniel Talbert both scored top 10 finishes at the Gene Balk Invitational in Mason City on Thursday. But MHS coach Tim Bell is still seeking better performances from the rest of the varsity squad.
"We had a nice pack three through five, but we need to improve by about 20-25 seconds," Bell said.
Wells was second overall Thursday as he crossed the line 16 minutes, 55 seconds, and Talbert was seventh at 17:39. After that, the best finish the Bobcats scored was Sam Johnson in 19th and Trae Peterson in 20th. Marshalltown ended up third in the team standings with 71 points but trailed champion Mason City and runner-up Fort Dodge by 32 and 27 points, respectively.
"Mason City and Fort Dodge ran very strong tonight," Bell said. "We need to work hard the next couple of weeks and try to catch them at the conference meet."
Wells is starting to gain confidence with each race and should be in state qualifying mode before the district meet rolls around. Bell liked how he performed Thursday night.
"Zach had a nice race, and he finished strong," Bell said. "As he continues to improve the middle part of the race, he should see himself running quality races."
Johnson finished 19th in 18:23, while Peterson's 20th place finish was in 18:24. Nestor Sanchez finished 23rd overall and crossed the line in 18:29. Nathan Phillips and Hunter Barnard also were in the top 30, hitting the line in 26th and 28th, respectively.
Mason City scored 39 points in the meet and grabbed two top-five finishes and six of the first 12 positions. Fort Dodge scored 44 points, finishing with the winner as well as third and sixth place. Sophomore Alex Johnson won the meet in 16:48.
Clear Lake and Waterloo West were also at the meet, finishing in fouth and fifth, respectively.
The Marshalltown junior varsity took first place overall behind four top 10 finishes. The Bobcats scored 36 points and edged out Mason City by one point.
The cross country squad next runs Tuesday at the Iowa City West Invitational. Start time is set for 4:30 p.m.