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Smith stands out for Bobcats

MHS junior has strong showing in CIML Iowa

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Marshalltown High School boys’ cross country coach Chad Pietig, right, encourages Bobcat junior Conner Smith during Thursday’s CIML Iowa Conference meet at the Iowa State University Cross Country Course in Ames. Smith finished ninth in a time of 16 minutes, 48 seconds to lead Marshalltown in the meet.

AMES — Another strong run at the Iowa State University Cross Country course from Conner Smith was the highlight of Marshalltown’s trip to Ames for the CIML Iowa Conference Invite Thursday afternoon.

The Bobcat junior hung in with the leading pack all race long and finished in ninth place, clocking in with a time of 16:48.3. Boys’ head coach Chad Pietig said Smith still is in search of the final gear some of the state’s top runners have, but that his improvement over the season has been impressive.

“He has had a really good month,” Pietig said. “I think the thing I’m really impressed with, is that he’s becoming a smart racer. He’s knowing who to go with, who to push and who not to push.”

Smith was the leader of a sixth-placed run for the Bobcat boys, finishing one point ahead of last-place Ottumwa but at the same time coming in a point behind fifth-place Fort Dodge. The Bobcats running in and around that group of teams is what Pietig hoped for during the event.

Jason Strand ran second-best for the Bobcats Thursday with a time of 18:10.1 — good enough for a top-30 position in 28th. Noah Hermanson finished in 33rd at 18:36.8, and Ethan Benscoter ran 38th in a time of 18:56.1.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Marshalltown’s Odaly Flores completed Thursday’s CIML Iowa Conference cross country meet in a personal-best time of 21 minutes, 12 seconds, to place 21st for the Bobcats.

The Bobcat girls’ team was dealt a blow prior to the meet starting with the news that Marshalltown’s star runner Phoebe Hermanson would miss the conference meet as a precautionary measure due to a calf problem she’s had all week long, according to head coach Stacy O’Hare.

“It actually started last week, and we just kinda saw how warmups went and how she was feeling,” O’Hare said. “We just decided it’d be best to hold her out tonight and make sure she’s fresh for next week. It’s tough, we kind of had a goal of where we wanted to finish as a team, and if Phoebe had run what I know she can do, I think we would have gotten our team goal as far as placing fourth. So that was tough, but the kids handle it well.”

This left the Bobcats without their best runner. Up stepped Odaly Flores and Micah Blevins to pace the team’s finishing position. Blevins led the team with a 12th-place finish and a time of 20:55.2, a season-best for the sophomore. Flores ran in the 15th spot with a time of 21:12.0, another personal best. In fact, O’Hare said the entire team ran personal bests Thursday.

But the competition was very high in the meet with some of the best teams in the CIML Iowa. Ankeny and Ankeny Centennial dominated the team scoring and individual runnings, accounting for a combined nine of the top-10 runners. Marshalltown finished in sixth place out of seven teams, scoring four top-30 finishers and recording a final score of 128.

Rachel Smith and Grace Rasmussen finished 27th and 28th, respectively, to round out the top-30 runs for Marshalltown and cap a positive performance despite the low team finish.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

Up next for both squads is a State Meet qualifier hosted by Marshalltown at the MCC course. The meet will take place next Thursday.

It presents a home-field advantage for the Bobcats, as the teams practice there every day.

“They like running on our home course, and we’re going to be out there next week before we run,” O’Hare said. “It definitely is a huge advantage for us.”

CIML Iowa Conference meet

At Ames

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

GIRLS

Team Standings — 1. Ankeny Centennial 28, 2. Ankeny 33, 3. Mason City 97, 4. Ottumwa 116, 5. Ames 118, 6. Marshalltown 128, 7. Fort Dodge 213.

Individiual (top 10) — 1. Lauren McMahon, ANK, 18:14; 2. Rondi Quass, AC, 18:51; 3. Katie Jensen, AC, 19:26; 4. Alayna Wallace, AC, 19:39; 5. Meghan Coulter, OTT, 19:44; 6. Marika Kisgen, ANK, 19:49; 7. Jenna Pitz, ANK, 19:52; 8. Talia Dosh, ANK, 19:54; 9. Anja Peck, AC, 19:55; 10. Kathryn Vortherms, AC, 19:56.

MARSHALLTOWN (128) — 17. Micah Blevins 20:55, 21. Odaly Flores 21:12, 27. Rachel Smith 22:14, 28. Grace Rasmussen 22:16, 35. Maggie Augustine 22:58, 40. Makenna Ainsworth 23:11.

BOYS

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

Team Standings — 1. Ankeny Centennial 35, 2. Ames 48, 3. Ankeny 67, 4. Mason City 132, 5. Fort Dodge 147, 6. Marshalltown 148, 7. Ottumwa 149.

Individual — 1. Akol Atack, AMES, 16:22; 2. Cael Cox, ANK, 16:28; 3. Benett Ryken, AMES, 16:33; 4. Gabriel Vicker, AC, 16:35; 5. Nicholas Grandgenett, AMES, 16:37; 6. Kade Christensen, AC, 16:39; 7. Karsten Peters, AC, 16:44; 8. Connor Cunningham, AC, 16:47; 9. Conner Smith, MHS, 16:48; 10. Nate Jones, AC, 16:49.

MARSHALLTOWN (148) — 9. Smith 16:48, 28. Jason Strand 18:10, 33. Noah Hermanson 128:36; 38. Ethan Benscoter 18:56, 40. Marco Herrera 19:12, 41. Anthoneih Kopsa 19:27, 42. Nicholas Price 19:29.

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