Lynx girls settle into middle of 8-team field at NCC meet

HUMBOLDT – Webster City runners Courtney Biere and Haley Johnson pushed themselves off the starting line and contended early during Tuesday evening’s North Central Conference meet at Sheldon Park.

It was the strategy that head coach Tony Bussan envisioned for his pace setters in the lead-up to the race. But 4 kilometers is a long way to run, and eventually they had to back off the gas.

After running in the top 10 over the initial 800 meters, Biere and Johnson eventually shuffled back and fought to finish with the second wave of runners on the hilly and rough terrain. Biere managed to sneak into the top 20; her time of 18:17.34 was good enough for 18th. Johnson couldn’t keep up with her long-legged teammate down the homestretch and dropped back to 22nd in 18:30.73.

“Courtney and Haley led us out strongly,” Bussan said.

With no one near the front of the field, WCHS piled up team points and found itself in fifth in the field of eight with 128 points.

Humboldt kept all the hardware at home. The 13th-ranked (Class 3A) Wildcats defending their team title with a measly 35 points and Maddie Kampen claimed the top individual honor when she coasted into the finishing chute in 16:22.38 – a lead of 18 seconds over runner-up Riley Mayer (16:40.70) of Fort Dodge St. Edmond.

The 13th-ranked (1A) Gaels claimed the silver with 66 points. Algona (94) was third, followed by Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR (120).

WCHS held a sizable gap over sixth-place finisher Hampton-Dumont (150).

Lynx teammates Larae Ebrecht and Ashley Flaws galloped across the course together and finished within 11 seconds of one another. Ebrecht (18:37.97) got to the line first to place 25th, while Flaws (18:48.72) settled for 28th.

Cassidy Bultena (19:20.74) ran alongside Ebrecht and Flaws for a portion of the race, but eventually drifted back to 35th.

Haley Flaws (42nd, 20:20) and Faith McClain (47th, 21:08) rounded out the Lynx lineup.

Kenady Highland (21:02) was the top WCHS runner in the junior varsity race with a 12th-place showing. Sarah Paukert (14th, 21:08) and Victoria Johnson (17th, 21:21) also picked up top-20 results.

WCHS will now have a little over a week to prepare itself for next Thursday’s 3A State Qualifying Meet at Perry.