STC’s Frakes takes 6th in Early Bird
On an August afternoon that felt more like late September, the Marshalltown cross country team hosted nine other harrier squads from around the state for its annual Early Bird Cross Country Meet Thursday.
Though the Bobcats hosted, it was sophomore Callie Frakes from South Tama County who took the top area honors in the meet, coming in sixth place with a time of 21:54.5, narrowly edging out Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck junior Lily Ehlers who finished just two seconds behind for seventh place.
After her finish, Frakes said she felt good from the get-go on Thursday afternoon on the Marshalltown Community College course.
“I think I had a pretty good start and I enjoyed the race, it was a pretty good first race for coming out this year,” Frakes said. “I had a toe injury last year and missed track season, so coming out like this has been pretty good.”
Before her injury, the sophomore was one of the premier runners for the Trojans in her first year on the squad, and she started her season strong in 2016 with a high finish at the Early Bird as well.
“Last year as a freshman I got fifth here, so I was still trying to aim in the top five or even get higher than what I got last year,” she said. “I got sixth, so that is still pretty good.”
STC head coach Robert Tyynismaa said seeing how Frakes started off her season was exciting, but he was also pumped about how one of the newcomers to his team finished as well.
“Jessica Musgrave, who didn’t run for us the last two years and decided to come out as a junior, she ran really well,” he said.
Musgrave finished in 14th in her first outing for Trojans cross country with a time of 22:31.3.
Though they didn’t have a top-ten finisher, Marshalltown showed well in their first meet under new head coach Stacy O’Hare, taking fifth in the team score with an average time of 24:28.6.
Pacing the Bobcats was freshman Mary Kate Gruening, who took 24th overall with a time of 24:01.3. O’Hare said Gruening finishing out front in her first high school meet was impressive, but she wasn’t the only performance O’Hare was happy about.
“We have a nice group of kids there that push each other in practice, a lot of younger kids in freshmen and sophomores,” O’Hare said. “Overall on JV and varsity I am extremely pleased with how the kids ran tonight. I know a couple of them that returned from last year already ran their personal bests, so that’s a great way to start the year off.”
Once Gruening crossed the finish line, she was quickly greeted by four of her teammates, as sophomores Aida Almanza, Jade Tejada, Mia Barajas and freshman Odaly Florez all finished within a minute of Gruening’s time. O’Hare said that group mentality is something the girls show in practice, but instead of running together like they do on a daily basis the Bobcats were more pushing each other for a better finish.
“In practice sometimes we get into that ‘this is my friend so I will run with them and chit chat’ mentality but for them to go out and compete against each other, that just pushes them even harder,” she said. “I really saw some good things on that end that I hadn’t quite seen in practice.”
This was just the first of four times Marshalltown will compete on its home course at MCC, and O’Hare said that is a great thing for her team moving forward. As for how they will approach practice now that they have a meet under their belts, O’Hare said the Bobcats will now start to work on fine-tuning parts of their races.
“We are going to continue to build mileage, one of the things the kids even pointed out and I noticed that we haven’t really worked on a lot is hills,” she said. “How to approach the hill and how to go after it. We will work on that, and now that we have some times we can start individualizing it a little bit and talk about what your pace should be and what goals should be. This was kind of almost a time trial for them and it went really well.”
GC/G-R didn’t have enough girls run to record a team score, but the girls it did have compete showed well, paced by Ehlers in seventh. Junior Cora Saak finished in 11th, narrowly missing out on a top-10 placing by five seconds, while sophomore Shelby Rivera took 23rd and junior Sarah Lindeman finished in 45th.
Spartans head coach Andy McQuillen said all of his girls who ran, regardless of level, performed well out of the gate.
“Our girls, I thought overall JV to Varsity competed really well,” he said after the meet. “I thought we showed some improvement from a year ago, even from where we left off from the end of the season. I think some of the efforts they put in from the end of the summer really paid off and hopefully we continue to get better.”
With this meet happening so early in the season, McQuillen said it’s hard to totally judge things where they stand now because his athletes still have a lot of growth to undergo. Still, he thought the Spartans went out and gave it their best shot.
“I was really happy, I was just talking with one of my parents and saying this was one of those meets that I call the ‘see what you got’ meets,” McQuillen said. “We needed to come out and see what we had, I think our kids were getting tired of practicing and we were ready to compete against some people and obviously I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
Marshalltown Early Bird Meet
At Marshalltown Community College
Team Standings — 1. Urbandale 23, 2. Ottumwa 57, 3. Roosevelt 62, 4. Waterloo East/West 104, 5. Marshalltown 123, 6. Belle Plaine 173, 7. Webster City 177, 8. Sigourney 217.
Individuals (top 10) — 1. Kylie Latham, Ottumwa, 20:15; 2. Macy Gaskill, Urbandale, 20:43; 3. Avery Peterson, Urbandale, 21:11; 4. Anna Gillbreath, Roosevelt, 21:36; 5. Kayla Owens, Urbandale, 21:40; 6. Callie Frakes, South Tama County, 21:54; 7. Lilly Ehlers, Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck, 21:56; 8. Abby Hulls, Urbandale, 21:57; 9. Kati Heller, Urbandale, 22:02; 10. Meghan Coulter, Ottumwa, 22:10.
Marshalltown (104) — 24. Mary Kate Gruening 24:01, 27. Aida Almanza 24:16, 28. Jade Tejada 24:26, 34. Mia Barajas 24:48, 35. Odaly Flores 24:50, 46. Pricila Vergara 26:33, 48. Victoria Johnson 27:02.
South Tama County — 6. Frakes 21:54, 14. Jessica Musgrove 22:31, 40. Kelsie York-Morris 25:55.
Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck — 7. Ehlers 21:56, 11. Cora Saak 22:15, 23. Shelby Rivera 23:48, 45. Sarah Lindeman 26:27.