Wells, Murray lead Panthers at Pella
PELLA — With the hot sun beating down on Saturday’s cross-country races, it was a feat for runners just to cross the finish line.
“There were many runners walking and sitting down, and we saw three ambulances take girls to the hospital at the end of the JV race,” the Mt. Pleasant girls’ cross-country coach, Jean Caboth, said. “(Both) girls’ races were in full, hot sun — it was very grueling. I was proud of the girls who finished it.”
The Mt. Pleasant girls’ team placed seventh of eight teams at the meet in Pella, and the Panther boys took sixth.
Beth Wells led the Panther girls across the line, taking 25th of 96 runners with a time of 17:45. She took 1:14 off the time she ran at the same race last year, when she was a member of the Cedar Falls team.
Chloe Haffarnan came in 33rd with a time of 18:02. Her finish time was the same as last year’s, but Caboth counts that as an improvement, considering the tougher conditions.
“Beth (Wells) was an excellent leader for us, and Chloe (Haffarnan) passed many runners in the last half mile of the race,” Caboth said.
Following Haffarnan was Natalie Ita, 41st, 18:13; Emma Ludwig, 69th, 19:53; Jenna Ludwig, 89th, 22:27; and Emma Smith, 92nd, 23:09.
“Lindsey Moeller, our seventh runner, was overcome by the heat and did not finish,” Caboth said. “She was OK after a lot of liquids and cooling off.”
The Panthers also had two JV runners who did not finish due to heat: Serie Welcher and Catherine Prough.
Ally Davis ran a 24:57 to finish 153rd in the JV race, and Jessica Holtkamp was 159th with a time of 25:26.
Waukee won the varsity race with 31 total points. Johnston was second with a score of 86, followed by Marshalltown, 96; Southeast Polk, 105; Cedar Falls, 108; Oskaloosa, 109; Mt. Pleasant, 172; and Pella, 177.
“We still need work on hills and we will do that this week,” Caboth said. “Our next meet is at Fairfield on Thursday. Ellie (Conrad) will be back with us, and maybe even Hannah Weber.”
On the boys’ side of the meet, Mt. Pleasant was led by Logan Murray, who placed seventh overall with a time of 17:28.
Murray was followed by Jack Pieper, who finished in 18:58 to take 34th in a field of 113 runners.
Adam Bodenham was 41st with a time of 19:17; then came Dalton Krum, 57th, 19:47, and Ryan Hutchinson, 65th, 20:00.
“We had five freshmen score for us,” Coach Mitch Anderson said. Murray, Pieper and Bodenham were the first three among all freshmen to cross the line.
Also running for the Panthers were Josh Beelman, 82nd, 20:47, and Ben Zihlman, 95th, 21:49.
The Panthers finished sixth overall of nine teams with 153 points.
“We got ahead of some teams that had been ahead of us in the past, and we got to see some teams that we will meet again in the state qualifier,” Anderson said.
Iowa City West took the team title with 31 points, followed by Pella, 68; Ankeny, 98; Southeast Polk, 103; Oskaloosa, 103; Mt. Pleasant; Glenwood, 200; Marshalltown, 203; and Knoxville, 239.
There was a timing error in the JV boys’ race, so results for the Mt. Pleasant JV runners are not yet available.
Both Panther teams are scheduled to run at Fairfield Thursday, where they will run against Southeast Conference competition for the first time this year. The meet starts at 5 p.m.