CARROLL - Webster City will have spectators, not competitors, at next weekend's state cross country meet and yet head coach Tony Bussan walked away from yesterday's Class 3A State Qualifying Meet at Swan Lake without a single regret.
Bussan challenged his runners to go above and beyond what they'd previously done and, one by one, they delivered.
Deep and talented girls' and boys' fields pushed the Lynx into an afterthought prior to the race and yet both teams jumped up to mid-pack finishes - much to the pleasure of their leader.
"I'm just super excited and I'm very honored by the commitment of our kids," Bussan said after both of his squads finished sixth in the field of 12. "I was very concerned about the team and where we were at and whether or not we were going to buy into it and finish (the season) the right way. But our kids clearly cared."
Led by sophomore Allie Flaws, the WCHS girls tallied 180 points while running in the woods, keyed by a gap of just 1 minute, 4 seconds from its five scorers.
Flaws showed the Lynx the way and finished 22nd in 17:31 and classmate Courtney Biere wasn't too far behind; she was 28th in 17:48.
LASS 3A STATE QUALIFYING MEET
AT SWAN LAKE, CARROLL
1. Spencer 40, MOC-Floyd Valley 49, 3. Sioux City Heelan 80; 4. Algona 90; 5. Boone 124; 6. Webster City 180; 7. LeMars 199; 8. Sergeant Bluff-Luton 234; 9. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 247; 10. Carroll Kuemper 267; 11. Denison-Schleswig 281; 12. Storm Lake 302.
Webster City Results
22. Allie Flaws 17:31; 28. Courtney Biere 17:48; 41. Ashley Flaws 18:27; 44. Gina Moline 18:33; 45. Larae Ebrecht 18:35; 49. Cassidy Bultena 18:47; 51. Morgan Shannon 18:50.
1. Boone 32; 2. Algona 48; 3. MOC-Floyd Valley 106; 4. Sioux City Heelan 109; 5. Spencer 177; 6. Webster City 199; 7. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 204; 8. Denison-Schleswig 206; 9. Storm Lake 290; 10. LeMars 220; 11. Carroll Kuemper 230; 12. Sergeant Bluff-Luton 374.
Webster City Results
33. Jacob Perin 18:45; 37. Connor Foster 18:51; 39. Demar Lemus 18:54; 42. Brandon Arkland 19:01; 48. Adam McMurray 19:15; 56. Seth Crouthamel 19:23; 75. Trey Nelson 20:28.
"Allie and Courtney both had tremendous races and they cut 30 seconds off their times on the course from a month ago," Bussan said. "The kids just ran with a passion."
The lowering of times from last month's Carroll Kuemper Invite blanketed the roster, none bigger than freshman Larae Ebrecht, who finished 45th in just her second varsity race. Her time of 18:35 with a two-minute improvement from the junior varsity race she ran at Swan Lake.
Sophomore Ashley Flaws (18:27) claimed the 41st position and senior Gina Moline (18:33) was 44th.
The WCHS boys' team put up 199 points and every place was a fight as only 31 points separated the sixth- through 11th-place teams.
"It was pretty darned good competition on the boys' side," Bussan said. "Most of our boys took 30 seconds or more off their best times on the course, too."
Jacob Perin sprinted through the finish line in 18:45 to place 33rd. Connor Foster (18:51) was six seconds behind in 37th.
Demar Lemus (18:54) was maybe the biggest surprise, as he vaulted up to the Lynx No. 3 by placing 39th. Seniors Brandon Arkland (19:01) and Adam McMurray (19:15) were 42nd and 48th, respectively.
Second-ranked Boone edged No. 4 Algona, 32-48, for the boys' team title. They'll be joined at the state meet by third-place finisher MOC-Floyd Valley (106).
Defending 3A state individual champion Chandler Austin buried the competition and won gold in 15:46.
No. 7 Spencer (40) was the girls' team champion, while No. 2 MOC-Floyd Valley (49) and Sioux City Heelan (80) also advanced to state.
Bethany Dykstra (15:38) of MOC-FV nudged Dianna Slight (15:39) of Boone for the girls' individual crown.