It’s Groundhog Day for Bultena, Lynx boys at NCC meet
Senior earns third straight all-league honor, team 3rd; WCHS girls get strong run for Butz, place 7th
ALGONA — The meet wasn’t held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and Tyler Bultena isn’t Phil Connors, the fictional character portrayed by Bill Murray that cinematic fans grew to love, but in many ways it was the Webster City boys’ cross country team’s version of Groundhog Day here on Tuesday.
The courses and elements change, but for whatever reason the results play on a continuous loop.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Lynx finished in the third-place position at Tuesday’s North Central Conference meet. Bultena, the team’s senior leader, settled into seventh at River Road Golf Club for the third straight season.
“We ran in the place that I expected and I thought we ran well,” WCHS head coach Joe Lambert said.
No. 15-ranked (Class 3A) Clear Lake claimed its second league team championship in three years, as the Lions fended off 2016 champion Humboldt by two points, 38-40. WCHS put up 89 points and Iowa Falls-Alden was a distant fourth with 120.
Bultena’s third straight all-conference performance included a strong first mile en route to a time of 17:36.71.
“Tyler started out real well,” Lambert said. “The thing we’re going to have to do before (the state qualifier meet) is find a way to minimize the time differential between the first and second miles. He still gained positions (on Tuesday), so that was the cool part, but we’d like to find another 20 or 30 seconds (to cut).”
Lynx freshman Sam Vanderpool pushed his way into the top 15; his time of 18:24.15 was good for 15th, the same place Bultena secured during his rookie campaign in 2014.
John Piaszynski returned to the WCHS lineup for the first time in two weeks because of illness and gutted out a 20th-place performance in 18:40.10. He passed teammate Max Harfst as the two neared the finish line; Harfst was 21st in 18:41.02.
“It was nice to have John Piaszynski back and that helped a great deal even though he’s still on the mend,” Lambert said. “He’s nowhere near as strong as he would have been had he not been sick.”
Freshman Jacob Willson (18:47.41) gave WCHS a 26th-place result to close out its scoring team.
Clear Lake’s Sam Pedelty earned the individual title in 16:56.11, six seconds in front of Humboldt’s Joseph Kunert. Pedelty finished third at the NCC meet in 2015 and 2016.
Humboldt sophomore Bryce Gidel won her second girls’ individual crown in as many years, as she toured the course in 19:19.57. Runner-up and 2015 NCC champion Aubrie Fisher of Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR crossed the finish line in 19:36.76.
Humboldt, ranked fourth (3A), claimed its fifth straight girls’ conference team title by a wide margin. The Wildcats had all five of their scorers in the top nine and tallied 24 points. Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR was a distant second with 77 and No. 8-ranked (1A) Fort Dodge St. Edmond was third with 81.
The WCHS girls’ squad was back in seventh with 170.
Freshman Kaelyn Butz continued to solidify her standing as the Lynx leader. She was more than a minute ahead of the rest of the team’s pack, as she turned in a time of 22:48.19 to finish 19th.
“Kaelyn ran very well,” Lambert said.
The Lynx second, third, fourth and fifth runners were separated by 40 seconds. Emma Piper led that next wave in 24:07.62, good for 35th place. Kaitlyn Wagner (24:08.52) was right behind Piper in 36th, and Elycia Obrecht (24:25.67) was one more spot back in 37th. Haley Flaws (24:47.53) took 43rd.
“We were seventh, but individually they’re all making strides forward,” Lambert said. “We’ve got another 10 days to get a little more out of them before (the state qualifier).”
Lambert pointed to the team’s No. 7 runner Sami Main as someone that showed significant improvement. Her time of 28:27.30 was a personal best by two minutes.
WCHS will travel to Spencer for a 3A State Qualifying Meet next Thursday.
Tuesday at River Road Golf Club
1. Humboldt 24; 2. Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR 77; 3. Fort Dodge St. Edmond 81; 4. Algona 110; 5. Clear Lake 131; 6. Hampton-Dumont 164; 7. Webster City 170; 8. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows 207.
Individual Top 10
1. Bryce Gidel (HUM) 19:19.57; 2. Aubrie Fisher (IFA/AGW) 19:36.76; 3. Gabby Kent (HUM) 19:48.02; 4. Ellie Meyer (IFA/AGW) 20:34.42; 5. Isabella Luu (HUM) 20:51.51; 6. Lauren Erickson (HUM) 21:07.48; 7. Patty Teggatz (H-D) 21:10.11; 8. Gretchen Jones (CL) 21:17.26; 9. Madeline Ruzicka (HUM) 21:23.27; 10. Hailey Schmidt (ALG) 21:28.33.
Webster City Results
19. Kaelyn Butz 22:48.19; 35. Emma Piper 24:07.62; 36. Kaitlyn Wagner 24:08.52; 37. Elycia Obrecht 24:25.67; 43. Haley Flaws 24:47.53; 48. Haley Johnson 25:43.05; 54. Sami Main 28:27.30.
1. Clear Lake 38; 2. Humboldt 40; 3. Webster City 89; 4. Iowa Falls-Alden 120; 5. Algona 126; 6. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows 142; 7. Fort Dodge St. Edmond 174; 8. Hampton-Dumont 221.
Individual Top 10
1. Sam Pedelty (CL) 16:56.11; 2. Joseph Kunert (HUM) 17:02.73; 3. Quinton Orr (HUM) 17:04.67; 4. Trey Engen (ALG) 17:10.16; 5. Eric Faught (CL) 17:21.21; 6. Denny Pederson (HUM) 17:21.87; 7. Tyler Bultena (WC) 17:36.71; 8. Ike Branstad (CL) 17:49.63; 9. Jed Tracy (SE) 18:06.61; 10. Devon Coon (HUM) 18:08.64.
Other Webster City Results
15. Sam Vanderpool 18:24.15; 20. John Piaszynski 18:40.10; 21. Max Harfst 18:41.02; 26. Jacob Willson 18:47.41; 31. Tucker Judkins 19:01.57; 33. Matt Johnson 19:05.75.