ELDORA - Fourth-place finishes were satisfactory, but more importantly the Webster City cross country teams stepped up the intensity and fought for each and every position at Saturday's South Hardin Invitational.
And that's what head coach Tony Bussan wanted to see.
After a sub-par performance at last week's Algona Invite, Bussan challenged his girls' team on Saturday and the runners answered the bell. Twins Allie and Ashley Flaws both finished in the top 20 to propel the squad to 123 points.
"We had a much improved competitive effort compared to (last) Monday's race at Algona," Bussan said. "We battled ... the fact that we focused and raced hard helped us improve."
No. 7-ranked (Class 2A) South Hardin (68 points) won the girls' crown easily over runner-up Iowa Falls-Alden (102). No. 15-ranked (2A) East Marshall (114) was third.
The Flaws twins battled one another down the stretch; Allie had the better kick and placed 17th in 16:49, while Ashley was on her heels in 16:51 for 18th.
SOUTH HARDIN INVITE
1. South Hardin 68; 2. Iowa Falls-Alden 102; 3. East Marshall 114; 4. Webster City 123; 5. Nevada 124; 6. South Tama 163; 7. North Tama 165; 8. CMB 167; 9. Eagle Grove 172; 10. BCLUW 181; 11. Colfax-Mingo 253; 12. Colo-NESCO 323.
Webster City Results
17. Allie Flaws 16:49; 18. Ashley Flaws 16:51; 21. Courtney Biere 17:07; 30. Cassidy Bultena 17:30; 37. Morgan Shannon 17:36; 38. Gina Moline 17:45; 63. Sarah Paukert 19:13.
1. East Marshall 50; 2. Nevada 92; 3. BCLUW 110; 4. Webster City 123; 5. South Tama 125; 6. Iowa Falls-Alden 126; 7. South Hardin 146; 8. CMB 202; 9. Colo-NESCO 222; 10. Colfax-Mingo 273.
Webster City Results
19. Jacob Perin 18:54; 23. Adam McMurray 19:04; 25. Brandon Arkland 19:09; 30. Seth Crouthamel 19:24; 31. Jose Cruz 19:27; 32. Connor Foster 19:32; 46. Demar Lemus 20:52.
Courtney Biere wasn't too far off the pace of her teammates, as she crossed in 17:07 to finish 21st. Cassidy Bultena (17:30) took 30th and Morgan Shannon (17:36) was 37th, just nine seconds and one place in front of Gina Moline (17:45).
The WCHS boys' team did its share of battling as well and equaled the girls with 123 points to edge out South Tama (125) and Iowa Falls-Alden (126) for fourth.
Fifth-ranked East Marshall (50) was the no-doubt winner ahead of Nevada (90) and No. 8 (1A) BCLUW (110).
"Our boys did an excellent job of competing for every place which made a huge difference in our team placing," Bussan said. "It was great to see the pack running of our squad as we had only a 34-second gap (between the first and sixth runners)."
Jacob Perin took the lead this time and wound up in 19th in 18:54. Just 10 seconds behind was Adam McMurray (19:04) in 23rd. Brandon Arkland (19:09) was right there as well in 25th with Seth Crouthamel (19:24) giving chase in 30th. Jose Cruz (19:27) was the next runner to cross in 31st.
Larae Ebrecht (2nd, 18:11) and Trey Nelson (7th, 20:32) led the Lynx junior varsity girls' and boys' teams, respectively.