HUXLEY - South Hamilton cross country coach Darrell Paulsen had an inkling that his boys' team had raised the bar for itself during yesterday's Ballard Invitational at the Ballard Golf and Country Club.
Third, maybe fourth in Class C, that would be a positive result, Paulsen thought out loud. But even he was a little startled at the official results.
"Second? Really? That is a surprise. Wow," Paulsen said upon hearing the tally. "I thought we had a good night, but I guess I didn't realize it was that good."
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
South Hamilton’s Jacob Heeren trots along alone during the Ballard Invite in Huxley yesterday. He placed eighth in Class C.
Yes, the Hawks jumped up into the silver slot on the strength of its middle pack en route to 95 points. Fifth-ranked (Class 2A) North Polk ran away and hid by holding down five of the top seven spots to notch 20 points. South Hardin (104) was third.
Webster City found it a little tougher sledding in Class A - the largest of the four classifications. The Lynx saw improved times over recent meets, but fell out of the title race with 109 points, good enough for fifth. No. 2-ranked (3A) Pella was the easy winner with 36. No. 5 (3A) Boone was second with 56, followed by Garner-Hayfield (97) and 10th-ranked (3A) Dallas Center-Grimes (98).
"Our top five all showed improvement," WCHS head coach Tony Bussan said.
Class A Team Standings
1. Pella 36; 2. Boone 56; 3. Garner-Hayfield 97; 4. Dallas Center-Grimes 98; 5. Webster City 109; 6. Iowa Falls-Alden 171; 7. Perry 218; 8. Norwalk 235; 9. Carlisle 238; 10. Creston 245.
Webster City Results
13. Steven Smith 17:48; 18. Ethan Glenn 18:21; 22. Jacob Clabaugh 18:36; 25. Nick Olmstead 18:41; 31. Seth Crouthamel 19:06; 39. Ryan Heinrichs 19:25; 60. Brandon Arkland 20:35.
Class C Team Standings
1. North Polk 20; 2. South Hamilton 95; 3. South Hardin 104; 4. Panorama 105; 5. Roland-Story 114; 6. PCM 155; 7. CMB 170; 8. Interstate 35 172; 9. West Central Valley 234.
South Hamilton Results
8. Jacob Heeren 18:40; 18. Alex Bristow 19:57; 19. Caleb Olson 20:18; 23. Jordan Lutjen 20:47; 27. Zach Coster 21:06; 32. Jordan Toillion 21:29; 40. Luke Jacoby 22:50.
Sixth-ranked (2A) Gilbert and No. 9 (1A) BCLUW were the team champions in Classes B and D, respectively.
Hawks' sophomore Jacob Heeren wasn't feeling up to par prior to the race, but he still did his job and led the group with an eighth-place result in 18:40.
But it was the next wave of runners that made the difference. Alex Bristow cut two minutes off his previous best time on the course and finished 18th in 19:57, a spot ahead of teammate Caleb Olson (20:18). Jordan Lutjen (20:47) crossed in 23rd, and Zach Coster (21:06) was 27th.
"Bristow ran really well, his best time in the last couple of years," Paulsen said. "It was that pack that we had in the middle that really helped us."
Northeast Hamilton student turned WCHS runner Steven Smith, a senior, was again the Lynx navigator. He coasted toward the middle of the field during the first mile and then poured it on, sprinting into the chute in 17:48 to garner 13th-place points.
Ethan Glenn, who set the team pace early on, maintained a spot in the top 20 throughout and raced to the line in 18:21 to take 18th. Jacob Clabaugh (18:36) was 22nd, and Nick Olmstead (18:41) - making his varsity debut - placed 25th. Seth Crouthamel (19:06) closed out the team scoring by settling into the 31st position.
The individual champions in Classes A through D included Boone's Chandler Austin (15:58), Gilbert's Wesley Greder (16:58), North Polk's Peter Smith (17:08) and BCLUW's Derek Coulter (18:45).