Conference field gets away from Bobcats

MHS boys 5th, girls take 6th in CIML Iowa meet

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown sophomore Mia Barajas finishes out the final leg of the CIML Iowa Conference meet at the Marshalltown Community College course on Thursday.

The Marshalltown cross country teams faced arguably their toughest challenge of the season on Thursday night in the CIML Iowa Conference meet at the Marshalltown Community College course, though it was also their smallest pool of competition.

Two of the best cross country teams in the state — Johnston and Dowling Catholic — were on hand for the meet, as well as another battle-tested squad in Urbandale.

Because of the strong opponents, neither Bobcat team placed very well, with the girls bringing up the rear in sixth and the boys finishing in fifth ahead of Fort Dodge, but what the MHS athletes did show is personal growth.

Marshalltown boys head coach Chad Pietig said all of his guys except senior Luke Pedersen ran their best time of the season at the MCC course.

“Most of our guys dropped time, Luke was the only one who didn’t and that might have been a little bit of nerves,” Pietig said. “He was pretty juiced up for today, but I am sure he will be fine and calm himself down and be ready to go.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown sophomore Kaci Uhde leads a pack of Bobcats on her way to finishing first for the MHS girls during the CIML Iowa Conference meet in Marshalltown on Thursday.

In fact, Pedersen was passed right at the end by freshman Javier Rodriguez, whose time of 18 minutes, 7.2 seconds led the Bobcat harriers. Rodriguez said it was a goal of his to pass up Pedersen, a goal he accomplished by less than half a second.

“He’s a good runner and I want to obviously get better, so I figured if I can pick it up a bit I can make a name for myself out here,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was one of a host of freshmen who were competing for the MHS boys, and Pietig said they did relatively well, considering the goals they set out to accomplish.

“They are young, five freshmen went to the starting line, and I gave them some goals of beating some teams that we will see next week and we did beat Fort Dodge,” he said. “We let Mason City sneak past us, but those are goals and things that they haven’t had to deal with in the past, so that might have made them a little extra nervous knowing there were different expectations this time.”

Pietig also said one of the reasons this meet is so tough is the level of competition mixed with the relatively small amount of teams, considering it’s just the six CIML Iowa teams who run.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown freshman Javier Rodriguez heads through the intersection for the last time at the Marshalltown Community College course on Thursday during the CIML Iowa Confrence Meet. Rodriguez narrowly beat out senior Luke Pedersen for the top spot for the Bobcat boys.

“This meet is actually tougher than districts, there will be 10 teams next week and there will be more people to race with,” he said. “That was part of the problem, you have Johnston and Dowling who completely break away from the field, then the rest of the field is strung out with not many people to race with. Next week in districts there will be teams in the middle to fill in, there will be guys to race with so I expect we will drop some more time yet before the end of the season.”

The Marshalltown girls were dealt a blow before the race even started, as freshman Mary Kate Gruening had to miss the meet due to a bout of pneumonia that popped up. Sophomore Kaci Uhde took over the mantle of top Bobcat in Gruening’s stead, pacing MHS with a time of 23:15 to finish in 29th.

Bobcat girls head coach Stacy O’Hare said Uhde has been a work-in-progress in her first season running cross country but she is rounding into shape as the season comes to a close.

“Kaci was kind of up at the top earlier this year in one of the races, but she has the potential,” O’Hare said. “She is kind of new to this, she played volleyball last year, so she is learning and getting this experience. I thought she ran a really good race, a lot of the girls went out and ran one of their fastest first miles they’ve ever run, but maybe they went out a little too fast and faded a little bit.”

The MHS girls had hopes of finishing as high as fourth in the meet, but as the race went on those hopes fell flat and they came in as the final-finishing squad. O’Hare said that had a lot more to do with the level of competition her girls faced, though there were some moments where she thought they could have competed a little stronger.


“I don’t think we ran our worst race by any means, we really really stressed placing tonight and focusing on Mason City and Fort Dodge,” she said. “Looking at the places, there’s a Fort Dodge runner right in front of us so we need to try to put forth a little bit more of an effort to try and get that runner because every place counts tonight.”

Marshalltown cross country is now done with the regular season, and the Bobcats set their eyes on the district meet, which just so happens to also take place on the MCC course.

Both O’Hare and Pietig said the district meet will likely be the last of the season for their squads, but what they want to see is some strong competition and good finishes to build off moving forward.

“Physically there’s not a whole lot we are going to do,” Pietig said of the team’s preparation for Districts. “Today and next week are our championship, so we just want to make sure that we end the season with the best finishes we can.”

“I just want them to go out and end the year on a really positive note,” O’Hare said. “What you don’t want is to maybe run their worst time or just not go out and compete, you want them ending on a positive not so they can build on it for next year.”


CIML Iowa Conference Meet

At Marshalltown


Team Standings — 1. Johnston 27, 2. Dowling Catholic 42, 3. Urbandale 60, 4. Mason City 108, 5. Fort Dodge 153, 6. Marshalltown 157.

Individual (top 10) — 1. Jessica McKee, JHN, 18:33.7; 2. Paige Horner, JHN, 18:49.7; 3. Brooke McKee, JHN, 19:05.0; 4. Kelsey Schweitzer, DC, 19:24.3; 5. Elzerie VanDyk, DC, 19:28.7; 6. Macy Gaskill, URB, 19:40.5; 7. Caroline Fink, DC, 19:55.7; 8. Kayla Owens, URB, 19:56.7; 9. Bella Heikes, JHN, 19:57.2; 10. Avery Peterson, URB, 20:03.7.

JOHNSTON (27) — 1. J.McKee 18:33.7, 2. Horner 18:49.7, 3. B.McKee 19:05.0, 9. Heikes 19:57.2, 12. Lindsey Batkiewicz 20:07.0, 13. Taryn Swaim 20:12.7, 14. Clara Toot 20:29.7.

DOWLING CATHOLIC (42) — 4. Schweitzer 19:24.3, 5. VanDyk 19:28.7, 7. Fink 19:55.7, 11. Janey Meilander 20:06.5, 15. Molly Flood 20:31.5, 18. Katelyn Reichart 21:00.0, 22. Emily Erickson 21:43.2.

URBANDALE (60) — 6. Gaskill 19:40.5, 8. Owens 19:56.7, 10. Peterson 20?03.7, 17. Abby Huls 20:49.8, 19. Kati Heller 21:05.1.

MASON CITY (108) — 16. Emma Davison 20:40.3, 20. Hannah Thomas 21:22.4, 23. Sami Miller 21:51.2, 24. Karynna Jones 22:00.1, 25. Alana Wickering 22:21.5, 26. Sami Haberman 22:31.4, 27. Marcella Sierra 22:36.4.

FORT DODGE (153) — 21. Gabby Estlund 21:32.3, 28. Alexis Read 23:14.8, 32. Isabel Gruver 23:38.5, 35. Piera McBride 24:39.4, 37. Adyson Bork 25:24.1, 39. Isabel Beekman 26:59.2, 40. Kayla Smith 27:08.7.

MARSHALLTOWN (157) — 29. Kaci Uhde 23:15.4, 30. Jade Tejada 23:22.4, 31. Odaly Flores 23:34.9, 33. Mia Barajas 23:48.5, 34. Aida Almanza 24:21.3, 36. Pricila Vergara 25:05.8, 38. Victoria Johnson 26:10.4.


Team Standings — 1. Dowling Catholic 31, 2. Johnston 32, 3. Urbandale 77, 4. Mason City 118, 5. Marshalltown 145, 6. Fort Dodge 171.

Individual (top 10) — 1. Matthew Carmody, DC, 15:41.8; 2. Tom Altier, JHN, 16:06.0; 3. Payton Marrs, URB, 16:10.5; 4. Will Ode, DC, 16:19.0; 5. Luke Perman, JHN, 16:26.6; 6. Sam Schmitz, JHN, 16:26.8; 7. Zach Fry, DC, 16:31.6; 8. Aaron Koopal, JHN, 16:40.9; 9. Sam Hall, DC, 16:44.0; 10. Duncan Kyhl, DC, 17:00.1.

DOWLING CATHOLIC (31) — 1. Carmody 15:41.8, 4. Ode 16:19.0, 7. Fry 16:31.6, 9. Hall 16:44.0, 10. Kyhl 17:00.1, 13. Drew Brase 17:04.7, 16. Kevin Conner 17:34.5.

JOHNSTON (32) — 2. Altier 16:06.0, 5. Perman 16:26.6, 6. Schmitz 16:26.8, 8. Koopal 16:40.9, 11. Waleed Yual 17:02.2, 12. Joe Schaefer 17:03.0, 14. Hunter Briggs 17:23.8.

URBANDALE (77) — 3. Marrs 16:10.5, 17. Ryan Finer 17:37.0, 18. Sam Schweitzer 17:38.4, 19. Jack Larson 17:53.4, 20. Drew Dabney 17:58.2, 23. Anthony Moran 18:15.4, 30. Aydan Daza 18:58.4.

MASON CITY (118) — 15. Michael Rowe 17:27.0, 24. Claudio Mateo 18:19.6, 25. Jack Phillips 18:19.8, 26. Derek Johnson 18:32.3, 28. Joey Daoud 18:49.9, 29. Luke Mulholland 18:55.8, 33. David Johnson 19:18.6.

MARSHALLTOWN (145) — 21. Javier Rodriguez 18:07.2, 22. Luke Pedersen 18:07.6, 32. Eli Thiesen 19:15.6, 34. Zach Bitker 19:26.9, 36. Noah Hermenson 19:36.7, 37. Freddy Ross 19:53.2, 39. Ethan Benscoter 20:51.5.

FORT DODGE (171) — 27. Justin Vaughan 18:37.0, 31. Joshua Meier 19:07.0, 35. Jonathon Madden 19:32.5, 38. Johnathan Brandt 20:15.4, 40. Nathanial Madden 21:09.3, 41. Seth Neumann 21:10.0, 42. Dylan Bethke 21:24.9.