ALGONA - Just how good of a showing did the Webster City boys' cross country team have during the Algona Invitational yesterday evening at Whittemore Golf Course? Tony Bussan was only too happy to tell anyone who wanted to know.
The Lynx head coach gushed over his team's performance, as all seven varsity runners set personal record times to help 10th-ranked (Class 3A) Webster City finish third in a monstrous field of 16 teams.
Second-ranked (2A) Sprit Lake-Park claimed the boys' team title with 84 points, three points ahead of Fairmont, Minn. Webster City tallied 92 points, which was good enough to finish in front of a plethora of North Central Conference schools, including defending champion Algona (119), which was fourth.
There were eight NCC teams in all involved, with only Hampton-Dumont and Iowa Falls-Alden absent. But Bussan says that doesn't mean his team will be able to rest on its laurels when the conference meet takes place in two weeks.
"We're very excited to have this kind of a breakout performance at this point in the season, but nothing is a given (in the conference)," he said. "Even though it looks like Algona and St. Edmond (151 points) are a ways back, that's really not true at all."
All five of Webster City's scoring runners finished in the 16- or 17-minute range - the first time the Lynx scoring five has all posted times below 18 minutes in several years, according to Bussan - and senior Alex Lamp led the way with a strong fifth-place showing in 16 minutes, 24 seconds. Andrew Laird was a top-20 place winner as well; he took 19th in 17:45.
|1. Spirit Lake-Park 84; 2. Fairmont (Minn.) 87; 3. Webster City 92; 4. Algona 119; 5. Spencer 142; 6. Fort Dodge St. Edmond 151; 7. Clear Lake 152; 8. Charles City 173; 9. Eagle Grove 222; 10. Humboldt 267; 11. Forest City 325; 12. Pocahontas Area 356; 13. Okoboji 358; 14. Emmetsburg 371; 15. Clarion-Goldfield 412; 16. Algona Bishop Garrigan 456.|
|Webster City Results|
|5. Alex Lamp 16:24; 19. Andrew Laird 17:45; 21. Jacob Clabaugh 17:51; 23. Ethan Glenn 17:52; 24. Austin Elm 17:56; 26. Nick Thilges 17:57; 38. Mason Hedeen 18:14.|
|1. Fairmont (Minn.) 65; 2. Humboldt 77; 3. Spirit Lake-Park 129; 4. Algona 142; 5. Spencer 148; 6. Clear Lake 149; 7. Estherville-Lincoln Central 208; 8. Fort Dodge St. Edmond 222; 9. Webster City 235; 10. Charles City 236; 11. Eagle Grove 299; 12. Clarion-Goldfield 357; 13. Okoboji 381; 14. Pocahontas Area 393; 15. Emmetsburg 462.|
|Webster City Results|
|25. Morgan Moline 16:45; 36. Alicia Long 17:12; 38. Brenna Paukert 17:13; 67. Megan Hughes 18:40; 69. Gina Moline 18:42; 71. Rachel Kauffman 18:51; 72. Brittney Dodge 18:52.|
Jacob Clabaugh (17:51, 21st), Ethan Glenn (17:52, 23rd), Austin Elm (17:56, 24th) and Nick Thilges (17:57, 26th) provided quite a bit of purple and gold at the finish line as they all finished within seconds of one another. It was this group that provided the ammunition to fend of Algona, Bussan said.
"Algona had us beat at the first three positions, and so it came down to a battle of the (Nos.) 4 and 5 guys," he said. "If they're able to move their four and five up at conference, then it's going to be a very heated man for man battle."
Mason Hedeen was the final member of the Lynx varsity to turn in his best time (18:14); he was 38th overall.
Algona senior Ryan McMahon wowed the home crowd with a gold-medal effort and new course record time of 15:46.
Webster City's Lucas Poland dominated the junior varsity race, as he ran all alone for much of the trek around the course and finished in 18:30. A year ago that time would have been good enough to entrench him in the No. 3 spot in the Lynx varsity lineup.
"Lucas had a really good race," Bussan said.
Girls struggle, finish in 9th
The Webster City girls' team received solid efforts from its top three runners, but the back end of the lineup struggled against a talented field and the Lynx were way back in ninth with a team-total of 235 points.
Algona (fourth), Clear Lake (sixth) and Fort Dodge St. Edmond (eighth) all finished ahead of Webster City.
"It was a real good field, but we're better than that and we need to be ready to show it in two weeks (at the conference meet)," Bussan said.
Morgan Moline continued to be a steadying influence on the Lynx with a top finish of 16:45, good enough for 25th. Alicia Long had her best race of the season and was 36th in 17:12, and Brenna Paukert (17:13) was just steps behind in 38th.
But Bussan didn't see another of his runners sprinting down the homestretch for nearly a minute and a half, as Megan Hughes (18:40) was next in 67th. Gina Moline (18:42, 69th) completed the scoring five.
Fairmont, Minn., trumped the large field of Iowa schools with 65 points. Humboldt was the runner-up with 77.
Nicole Heinrichs was the first Lynx junior varsity runner to finish. She took 14th in a new personal-best time of 19:10.