Wilkening’s Wolverines move up

GMG girls lead local teams at Grundy Center

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • GMG senior Kyla Wilkening makes her way along the course at Town & Country Golf Club while competing in the Spartan Invite on Thursday in Grundy Center. Wilkening placed third in the race, as did the Wolverines as a team.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • GMG senior Kyla Wilkening makes her way along the course at Town & Country Golf Club while competing in the Spartan Invite on Thursday in Grundy Center. Wilkening placed third in the race, as did the Wolverines as a team.

GRUNDY CENTER — The 19th annual Spartan Invite on Thursday was likely the hottest in quite a while, as the area cross country teams had to deal with 90-degree-plus temperatures on the day as well as a tough course at the Town & Country Golf Club.

Top-area finisher Kyla Wilkening didn’t seem to have trouble navagating the course and the hot conditions, however, as she took third in the race with a time of 21 minutes, nine seconds.

Wilkening said this wasn’t even her hardes race of the week, compared to her competition on Monday.

“On Monday we had the BGM meet at the Brooklyn Golf Course, so this meet was like a piece of cake,” she said. “Plus it was raining and humid and there’s a cardiac hill, so compared to this, I would take this meet in the heat compared to that meet.”

The whole Wolverine team clearly felt that way as well, as GMG took third in the meet with a score of 97. Wolverines head coach Jay Beichley said his girls are shaping into form at the right time, as the end of the season is fast approaching.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck harriers Lily Ehlers, left, and Reegan Zinkula run in tandem during the Spartan Invite on Thursday. Ehlers took fifth in the meet, while Zinkula finished in seventh.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck harriers Lily Ehlers, left, and Reegan Zinkula run in tandem during the Spartan Invite on Thursday. Ehlers took fifth in the meet, while Zinkula finished in seventh.

“We ran well, I told them before the race that we have this meet, we have South Hardin, and then it’s crunch time for us,” he said. “Conference meet then district meet, these are the last couple meets to figure out if you want to change anything to get some extra places in a race or get a little better time. They went out there, and I think our team gets better on mile three, so that’s the way they ran and all together put in a full team race.”

Wilkening said, if the team continues its upward momentum, a place in the state meet isn’t that farfetched of a goal.

“I think we are doing really well actually, we are shooting for a state qualifier this year,” she said. “We haven’t had a team in how many years at GMG? So I am really proud of all of them and I think we can go.”

Invite host Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck was the fourth place team with a 100, with juniors Lily Ehlers, Reegan Zinkula and Cora Saak each finishing in the top 10. Spartans head coach Andy McQuillen said he couldn’t have been prouder with how his girls ran.

“Those top three girls for us ran outstanding. I know they hurt right now, and they should, but you know that is part of the home course advantage too is we have ran this and we know what’s going on,” he said. “Obviously you dont have control of the weather but it is what it is for everybody out here and I thought we performed well.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • East Marshall senior Cindy Liera, left, exerts her final effort to pass South Hardin senior Chloe Web as both girls approach the finish line in the Spartan Invite on Thursday.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • East Marshall senior Cindy Liera, left, exerts her final effort to pass South Hardin senior Chloe Web as both girls approach the finish line in the Spartan Invite on Thursday.

Though she took fifth, Ehlers wasn’t thrilled with her time of 21:58 and she expects better of herself on her home course.

“The main thing I want to do is place better,” Ehlers said. “In my opinion getting better times is more important than places, I mean places are important too but better times shows your improvement. I just want to get back down to my other time that I ran at Marshalltown.”

East Marshall finished in fifth as a team with a 114, led by Wendy Liera’s ninth-place time of 23:05. Cindy Liera and Maddie Duncan also finished in the top 25 for the Mustangs, taking 19th and 21st respectively.

North Tama finished in eighth as a team with a 210, with Molly Kvidera leading the way with a 28th placing.

South Hardin didn’t have a team score, but Jordan Carr and Chole Webb each ran well in Grundy Center, finishing in 14th and 20th respectively.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Spartan Invitational

At Grundy Center

GIRLS

Team Standings — 1. Denver 41, 2. Sumner-Fredericksburg 81, 3. GMG 97, 4. Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck 100, 5. East Marshall 114, 6. Aplington-Parkersburg 126, 7. Union 140, 8. North Tama 210.

Individual (top 10) — 1. Sophia Jungling, A-P, 20:07; 2. Grace Beck, DEN, 21:07; 3. Kyla Wilkening, GMG, 21:09; 4. Macy Niewoehne, S-F, 21:40; 5. Lily Ehlers, GC/G-R, 21:58; 6. Natalie Even, DEN, 21:59; 7. Reagan Zinkula, GC/G-R, 22:07; 8. Emily Herbst, DEN, 23:02; 9. Wendy Liera, EM, 23:05; 10. Cora Saak, GC/G-R, 23:17.

GMG (97) — 3. Wilkening 21:09, 13. Angel Schewe 23:53, 22. Zoe Duncan 24:46, 29. Belle Duncan 25:10, 42. Haley Stahl 27:15, 43. Grace Schewe 27:17, 63. Lindsey Slifer 31:29.

GRUNDY CENTER/GLADBROOK-REINBECK (100) — 5. Ehlers 21:58, 7. Zinkula 22:07, 10. Saak 23:17, 39. Sarah Lindeman 26:40, 52. Libby Ross 28:07, 57. Madison Westwater 28:27, 65. Makenzie Martens 34:09.

EAST MARSHALL (114) — 9. Liera 23:05, 19. Cindy Liera 24:29, 21. Maddie Duncan 24:32, 37. Olivia Terrones 26:19, 44. Hannah Birks 27:18, 54. Hannah Roads 28:12.

NORTH TAMA (210) — 28. Molly Kvidera 25:07, 49. Pollina Litvinova 27:49; 55. Jordan Rigel 28:15, 56. Tessa Dvorak 28:15, 59. Holly Rigel 28:44, 62. Emma Scherrer 29:57.

SOUTH HARDIN — 14. Jordan Carr 23:54, 20. Chloe Webb 24:31, 66. Morgan Renertson 36:05.