Wolves, Warriors run at W-MU Invitational
WINFIELD — The Winfield-Mt. Union boys’ cross-country team placed fifth of nine teams on its home course on Thursday, led by Johnathan Quinn’s seventh-place finish.
“It felt pretty good; I just found a good pace and ran with it,” Quinn said. “You feel more pressure to perform (at a home meet), but it’s always more fun to run at home.”
Quinn completed the 5K course in 17:06. Dillon Timmerman of Mediapolis won the race in 16:09.
Following Quinn for W-MU was Gavin Benzce, who finished in 15th with a time of 17:50. Kollin Lintz was close behind, crossing the line in 17:51 to take 16th.
Levi Giese was 36th in 19:23, and Kohlton Heinzel finished just a step behind, taking 37th in 19:24 to round out the team score.
“They all seemed to challenge each other,” Coach Shaylena Bell said. “We’ve been talking about running as a team, and their team spirit has really improved. I’m excited — I just keep getting excited for every meet.”
Also running for the Wolves at their home meet was Tristan Klopfenstein, who finished 46th in 19:56, and Luke Beard, who was 56th in 20:46.
“We have improved a ton as a team,” Quinn said. “Most people’s times are better, and we’re getting better team scores.”
The Wolves finished with 111 points. Wapello won the meet with 54 points, followed by L&M (86), Columbus (87), Mediapolis (88), W-MU, West Burlington/Notre Dame (142), Danville/New London (181), Holy Trinity (203) and Harmony (273).
On the girls’ side, W-MU didn’t have enough runners for a team score.
Grace Edwards finished the 4K race 26th in 18:22 and Steffanie Watson-Hewitt was 42nd in 20:15.
For WACO, Dillon Douglas set a school record for the third time this season with his finish time of 20:01. WACO has a record for each cross-country course they run, and Douglas had already broken two of those this year. The previous record for the W-MU course was 20:57.
Douglas placed 47th, and teammate Mitchell Shaffer was 68th in 24:22. WACO’s Trevor Lynn did not race in Winfield.
“It feels really good (to break the record again),” Douglas said. “I try to run as hard as I can every race, and using the record really helps me get better times.”
Time is a motivating factor for the all three WACO runners, who compete as individuals, Douglas said.
The Warriors don’t have enough runners for a team score since re-starting the cross-country program at WACO this season.
“I don’t really mind not having a team score,” he said. “I know both the other runners also work for time. We’re not expecting to get in the top 10, we just want to get better each race. I’m just happy to be back in blue.”
On the girls’ side, WACO was led by Cheyenne Sedlacek, who finished in 18:31, taking 30th place. A couple of the Warrior runners fought through some injuries at the meet.
“I think we ran pretty well; Cheyenne (Sedlacek) ran really well,” Coach Cinda Blake said. “Jennie (Greene) and Michaela (Shaffer) are both struggling with shin splints, so it varies with them from day to day, but both were hurting tonight.”
Greene finished 37th in 19:29, and Shaffer was 50th in 22:43.
Next up for WACO is Monday’s meet at IMS in Kalona.
W-MU will run Monday as well; The Wolves are scheduled to compete at Columbus.
Both WACO and W-MU will then be back at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Winfield for Thursday’s Southeast Iowa Super Conference meet.
“I’m super excited to see how everyone improves, one meet to the next,” Bell said. “As long as all the kids walk out of there proud of what they did, that’s what matters. I would like to see the boys’ team place like it did (at the home meet) — in the top five. I think that would really motivate them for the rest of the season.”
The Wolves will have some motivation simply from being back on their home course with a home crowd.
“Two meets on your home course in the same year — you’ve got to love that,” Quinn said.