HUXLEY - Accolades and expectations go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Kayla Lucas has received the accolades; now come the expectations. And she says bring it on.
Lucas, South Hamilton's sophomore leader who entered the Class 2A individual rankings at No. 9 late last week, ran like one of the state's elites at yesterday's four-class Ballard Invite. She opened strong - too strong, if you ask her - and gutted out a tough final half-mile to place fifth in Class C in a time of 16 minutes, 54 seconds.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
South Hamilton sophomore Kayla Lucas (front) trucks it up a small incline during the second mile of the Ballard Invitational at the Ballard Golf and Country Club in Huxley yesterday. Lucas, ranked No. 9 in Class 2A, placed fifth in Class C to propel the Hawks to a fourth-place finish in the team standings.
"I went out a little too fast in the first half-mile and then kind of died after it, but this race is kind of tough because of all the classes and I didn't know who to stay with," Lucas said. "(Being ranked No. 9) is crazy, but I like it. I feel like I have a lot of expectations to do well in every meet, but it makes me want to do even better also. But I just try to push it out of my mind and run the race the way I usually do."
The 14th-ranked South Hamilton girls scored 85 points and placed fourth in the second to smallest class. No. 6 (2A) North Polk was the Class C winner with 63, six points ahead of CMB. South Hardin was third with 85.
Webster City, which entered the 3A rankings at No. 15 last week, was fifth in the Class A field with 138 points. Seventh-ranked (3A) Dallas Center-Grimes (43) dominated the largest class, while No. 5 (3A) Pella (70) was a distant second. No. 13 (3A) Garner-Hayfield (80) and Creston (117) were third and fourth.
Class A Team Standings
1. Dallas Center-Grimes 43; 2. Pella 70; 3. Garner-Hayfield 80; 4. Creston 117; 5. Webster City 138; 6. Norwalk 139; 7. Iowa Falls-Alden 160; 8. Perry 190; 9. Carlisle 224; 10. Boone 288.
Webster City Results
14. Morgan Moline 17:21; 25. Cassidy Bultena 18:03; 28. Courtney Biere 18:18; 34. Gina Moline 18:34; 37. Brenna Paukert 18:46; 44. Faith McClain 19:05; 66. Kenady Highland 21:22.
Class C Team Standings
1. North Polk 63; 2. CMB 69; 3. South Hardin 82; 4. South Hamilton 85; 5. Roland-Story 94; 6. Panorama 127; 7. West Central Valley 175; 8. Clarion-Goldfield 177.
South Hamilton Results
5. Kayla Lucas 16:54; 15. Allyson Ervin 17:48; 20. Rachael Huegerich 18:22; 22. Kali Lucas 18:25; 31. Jessica Zoske 19:26; 35. Sarah Rueger 19:39; 49. Sidney Alsager 20:34.
"The squad continues to show improvement as the season moves along," WCHS head coach Tony Bussan said.
Fifth-ranked (2A) Gilbert and No. 2 (1A) Earlham won the Class B and D team titles, respectively.
The individual gold medalists included DC-G's Madison Waymire (14:53), Ballard's Abby Kohut-Jackson (15:28), North Polk's Sybbie Sears (15:45) and Eagle Grove's Tiffany Christensen (15:31).
South Hamilton placed three others in the top 22 and all five scorers among the top 31.
Allyson Ervin and Rachael Huegerich stayed in close contact throughout, and Ervin pulled ahead over the final mile to finish 15th in 17:48. Huegerich was back in 20th in 18:22, just two spots and three seconds ahead of teammate Kali Lucas.
Jessica Zoske was 31st in 19:26.
"I think we're progressing as a team," Kayla Lucas said. "As of right now our hopes are to go to state again. That would be really cool and I think we can get there."
Webster City's lead pack didn't change much from previous races, as senior Morgan Moline continued to provide the roadmap. She navigated the 4-kilometer course in 17:21 to place 14th.
Freshman Cassidy Bultena (18:03) and Courtney Biere (18:18) showed their promise while finishing 25th and 28th, respectively. Gina Moline (18:34, 34th) and Brenna Paukert (18:46, 37th) weren't too far off the pace either.
Bultena, Biere and Paukert all sliced between 45 seconds and a minute of their previous season's best times.