Lynx Bultena snags final state spot at 3A XC qualifier

SPENCER – Tyler Bultena had never run a competitive 5K under 18 minutes until last week at the North Central Conference cross country meet when he leaned across the finish line in 17:59.55.

That personal record lasted for a whole nine days. But Bultena didn’t just beat it at Thursday’s Class 3A State Qualifying Meet at the Spencer Municipal Golf Course; he obliterated it.

Bultena, Webster City’s junior leader, turned on the jets over the final 300 meters and turned in a time of 17:03.18 to claim 15th place and the final individual spot in next weekend’s state-meet field.

Mission accomplished.

“It was definitely the goal and I just tried to do what the coaches told me,” Bultena said. “It was just a good course to go fast, but I was still kind of surprised when I heard the time.”

Bultena hung back in 16th place until the final sprint. He passed Sam Olson of Storm Lake and held him off by five seconds.

“Everyone was shouting out where I was at,” Bultena said. “I definitely emptied the tank on that last little bit. I was dead after the race, but it was worth it.”

Bultena will represent the entire Lynx program at state. The boys’ team wound up in sixth with 155 points, while the girls were back in 11th with 280 points.

“It was a really good day for us,” WCHS head coach Joe Lambert said. “We ran our best times … as it goes, the program is working well and times are falling into a place where I really think they should be right now.”

John Piaszynski (17:30.89) gave the WCHS boys’ squad two runners in the top 20; he placed 19th. Dawson Hjelmeland (17:46.44) placed 25th, Trey Nelson (18:21.05) 47th and Matt Johnson (18:23.36) 49th to round out the scoring.

Larae Ebrecht (22:25.41) took the lead for the Lynx girls’ team, as she sprinted across in 45th place. Emma Piper (22:37.98) wasn’t too far behind in 47th. Haley Johnson (23:22.11) returned to the lineup for the first time in nearly two months and took 59th. Kaitlyn Wagner (23:50.10, 62nd) and Haley Flaws (24:32.40, 67th) were also scoring contributors.