ALGONA - One place here, another place there, yet another someplace else; each alone doesn't seem like a big deal. But add them up and they were the difference between a 3-peat and dejection for the Webster City boys' cross country team here yesterday evening.
Looking for their third straight North Central Conference championship, the Lynx had their thunder stolen by host school Algona at River Road Golf Course, as the Bulldogs simply had a little more foot speed down the stretch en route to the gold trophy.
Algona nipped the Lynx by a single spot at the Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 positions for a tight 59-62 victory at the top of the standings. Clear Lake was third with 86 and sixth-ranked (Class 2A) Fort Dodge St. Edmond - the pre-meet favorite in the eyes of most - slipped to fourth with 95.
WCHS head coach Tony Bussan expected Algona to be in the hunt for the crown, and he was proven correct.
"We ran great, but Algona ran better," he said. "Yeah, it hurts to come up short and the guys should be disappointed, but when a worthy opponent takes it to you, you've got to shake their hands and say congratulations."
Lynx seniors Ethan Glenn and Nick Thilges repeated as all-conference members by placing among the top 10. Glenn stepped to the forefront with a strong second mile and cruised to the finish line in seventh in 16 minutes, 54.77 seconds. Thilges, running varsity for the first time this fall, continued to shed the rust, as he was ninth in 17:01.65.
1. Algona 59; 2. Webster City 62; 3. Clear Lake 86; 4. Fort Dodge St. Edmond 95; 5. Humboldt 103; 6. Iowa Falls-Alden 129; 7. Algona Bishop Garrigan 214; 8. Eagle Grove 215; 9. Hampton-Dumont 221.
Individual All-NCC (top 10)
1. Seth Reels (SE) 16:12.32; 2. Isaac Montes (IF-A) 16:14.51; 3. Antonio DiMarco (CL) 16:45.10; 4. Jacob Miller (H) 16:45.91; 5. Jake Iverson (CL) 16:49.05; 6. Mason Altman (A) 16:52.06; 7. Ethan Glenn (WC) 16:54.77; 8. Loren Shellabarger (A) 17:00.50; 9. Nick Thilges (WC) 17:01.65; 10. Colton Schnetzer (H) 17:03.95.
Other Webster City Results
13. Steven Smith 17:11.65; 16. Jacob Clabaugh 17:16.60; 17. Kenton Johnston 17:17.96; 26. Nick Olmstead 17:45.14; 30. Ryan Heinrichs 17:53.96.
"Our seniors stepped up and ran great races for us," Bussan said. "Ethan's kind of been there laying in the weeds ... I really thought he'd suck down that second mile when it came crunch time, and he did.
"Nick obviously ran a tremendous race for us. It's a big deal for him to go through everything he's gone through and then to come back and be an impact guy. That's great."
Steven Smith, a Northeast Hamilton senior in his first year of competition for the Lynx, was 11 seconds out of the top 10. He finished 13th in 17:11.65, while teammates Jacob Clabaugh (17:16.60) and Kenton Johnston (17:17.96) were 16th and 17th, respectively.
"Steven Smith, what a success story for us," Bussan said. "Every kid in our lineup did the best he could, so there are no regrets."
Algona was led by Mason Altman (16:52.06) in sixth and Loren Shellabarger (17:00.60) in eighth.
St. Edmond senior Seth Reel (16:12.32) held off Iowa Falls-Alden's Isaac Montes (16:14.51) down the stretch to claim individual gold. Reel was the league runner-up in 2011.
Webster City's Cole Zahn (18:00) won the junior varsity title. The Lynx claimed the first seven spots and eight of the top 10 in the JV race.