Mustangs’ depth propels them to top of STC Invite

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - East Marshall runners Wendy Liera, left, and Melinda Puumala, right, make their way up a hilly portion of the South Tama County Invite on Monday.

TAMA — There was plenty of competition in action at the South Tama County Cross Country Invitational on Monday, which ran at the high school rather than its usual spot at Otter Creek Lake and Park.

It was East Marshall that would walk out with its head held highest, as the Mustangs won the team competition with a score of 73, 20 points higher than Baxter in second.

East Marshall head coach Trent Taylor said what led his girls to the win wasn’t one particular individual performance, but a great overall team effort.

“I think any time you can get three to medal in the top 15, obviously you are going to keep your score down,” he said. “I have said this before and we are fortunate there is some carry-over and older siblings to get people interested with friendships, so they are getting kids to come out. Instead of working with six or seven and barely scoring as a team, I can go seven, eight, nine and even 10 deep now because I have some young girls that are starting to run better.”

Wendy Liera was the highest Mustang placer by finishing in sixth place with a time of 22 minutes, 34 seconds, while Melinda Puumala came in 10th with a time of 23:05 and Mkenzie Robinson was 14th with a time of 23:52.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - South Tama County junior Callie Frakes, left, and Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck freshman Taylor Stahl, middle, run together down an early stretch in the South Tama County Invite on Monday. Stahl placed second while Frakes took third.

Maddie Duncan and Hannah Roads placed 19th and 27th respectively, and Taylor said his girls are doing a good job of masking any problems that might arise during the season.

“Melinda is still recovering, she’s been having some respiratory issues, but then Mkenzie Robinson steps up and runs outstanding tonight,” Taylor said. “Hannah Rose has run outstanding for us, Olivia Terrones too, Wendy is down in the 22’s now which makes her really competitive. We are doing what it takes as a team to get there.”

The top individual area placer went to a relatively new runner, as Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck freshman Taylor Stahl placed second individually with a time of 21:28, just 10 seconds behind Vinton-Shellsburg’s Kay Fett in first.

As a team the Spartans finished in fourth place with a score of 97, as Cora Saak placed fifth with a time of 22:31 and Lily Ehlers took 13th with a time of 23:42.

South Tama County’s Callie Frakes showed out in her last home meet by taking third overall with a time of 21:34, a personal best for the season by 33 seconds.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“I was able to run a bit faster this time and that’s what I’m always wanting to do,” Frakes said. “I want to gradually cut off time before districts come around.”

This was essentially a tune-up for Frakes for the WaMaC Conference meet later this season that will also be run on the high school course, and she said it was nice to get out and test the track before a conference meet.

“This is different because we’ve never done it here on our own course, and it’s better because this is where we train and work out, so everything is familiar. You know what’s coming next,” she said. “The first two miles are fine because it’s mostly flat, then you don’t expect these hills on the third mile to hit you that much but they are short so it does.”

For much of the race Frakes and Stahl ran side-by-side, with Stahl pulling away in the last half mile to finish in second. Frakes said she doesn’t see that happening the next time they run together.

“She pushed me but I definitely think the more I run this year I’ll keep up with her,” Frakes said.

As a team STC came in seventh with a score of 138. Jojo Tyynismaa and Alyssa Chyma were the highest finishers behind Frakes, placing 22nd and 23rd respectively.

South Tama head coach Robert Tyynismaa said he was happy his girls were able to get a feel for what the course is like in a competition, especially considering nearly everyone on the team aside from Frakes is a freshman or sophomore.

“I think it’s extremely valuable for our young team,” he said. “Usually you go somewhere and that might be the first time you see that course. They walk the course then they get out there and run it. Here they will have lots of practice, we will be practicing obviously on parts of the course, and I think that will give them lots of confidence when it comes to conference.”

West Marshall placed third as a team behind Baxter and East Marshall with a score of 97. Grace Girard was the top West Marshall placer with a time of 22:46 to take seventh, and Avril Sinning also had a top-10 finish by placing ninth with a time of 22:57.

GMG came in eighth as a team with a score of 178. Angel Schewe was the top Wolverine placer by taking 12th with a time of 23:40. Zoe and Belle Duncan were the next-best finishers, placing 28th and 31st respectively.

BCLUW came in ninth on the team standings with a score of 215. Katie Thompson was the lone Comet medalist by finishing in 15th with a time of 23:45, and head coach Donna Fiscus said she was ecstatic about how her senior competed.

“We are trying to get her and Madison [Engle] both up there, but I am really pleased with Katie,” Fiscus said. “She is capable of it, she is so capable of that top 15 at all the meets, and she looked really strong.”

Meskwaki only had one varsity competitor on the night, but Shye Johnson represented the Warriors well by taking 17th individually with a time of 24:22.

North Tama also didn’t have enough runners to have a team score, but Molly Kvidera came in 25th for the Redhawks with a time of 24:52.

South Tama County Invitational

At Tama

GIRLS

Team Standings — 1. East Marshall 73, 2. Baxter 93, 3. West Marshall 97, 4. Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck 97, 5. Belle Plaine 111, 6. Vinton-Shellsburg 122, 7. South Tama 138, 8. GMG 178, 9. BCLUW 215.

Individual (top 10) — 1. Kay Fett, V-S, 21:18; 2. Taylor Stahl, GC/G-R, 21:28; 3. Callie Frakes, STC, 21:34; 5. Cora Saak, GC/G-R, 22:31; 6. Wendy Liera, EM, 22:34; 7. Grace Girard, WM, 22:46; 8. Lauren Ratliff, Baxter, 22:51; 9. Avril Sinning, WM, 22:57; 10. Melinda Puumala, EM, 23:05.

EAST MARSHALL (73) — 6. Liera 22:34, 10. Puumala 23:05, 14. Mkenzie Robinson 23:52, 19. Maddie Duncan 24:33, 27. Hannah Roads 24:55, 35. Olivia Terrones 25:22, 36. Addie Lane 25:24.

WEST MARSHALL (97) — 7. Girard 22:46, 9. Sinning 22:57, 16. Hannah Jovanovich 24:13, 29. Reyna Jorgenson 25:06, 40. Lilly Buck 26:19, 42. Kalyn Polley 26:26; 45. Adisyn Young 26:50.

GRUNDY CENTER/GLADBROOK-REINBECK (97) — 2. Stahl 21:28, 5. Saak 22:31, 13. Lily Ehlers 23:42, 34. Sarah Lindeman 25:15, 48. Lauren Wegman 26:57, 58. Haylee Hinders 28:32, 60. Madison Westwater 28:34.

SOUTH TAMA COUNTY (138) — 3. Frakes 21:34, 22. Jojo Tyynismaa 24:50, 23. Alyssa Chyma 24:51, 46. Makayla Backen 26:52, 57. Neena Lasley 28:32, 61. Abigail Froelich 28:41, 65. Caitlyn Stochl 29:31.

GMG (178) — 12. Angel Schewe 23:40, 28. Zoe Duncan 24:59, 31. Belle Duncan 25:08, 62. Emma Beeghly 28:55, 75. Talia Trumbo 31:39.

BCLUW (215) — 15. Katie Thompson 23:54, 53. Madison Engle 27:36, 54. Payton Pekarek 27:53, 55. Fiona Speicher 28:17, 77. Chloe Walters 33:55, 82. Paige Jacobson 37:32.

NORTH TAMA — 25. Molly Kvidera 24:52, 67. Jordan Rigel 29:55, 76. Elina Aghabekyan 31:47, 80. Sabryna Rigel 37:17.

MESKWAKI — 17. Shye Johnson 24:22.