No. 5-ranked Hawk boys a disappointing 3rd at HOIC
Peters’ unorthodox strategy pays off; SH?has 3 runners in top 10
JEWELL — Sprinting at the sound of the gun and pushing the pace until his lungs burn and his legs turn to rubber, that’s the strategy that South Hamilton junior Logan Peters usually goes with when he steps onto a cross country course.
A conservative game plan, that’s not his style and, besides, what fun is that?
But fun doesn’t always translate into success. Sometimes, the conservative approach is the best approach, and Peters proved that to himself at Monday’s Heart of Iowa Conference meet.
Peters accepted the fact that the howling winds would have an impact on the 5K race, which is why he didn’t attack the early portion of the course with his usual gusto. He was rewarded with plenty of gas left in the tank over the final mile and a fourth-place finish in the elite field.
“The reason I did that was partly because of the wind. I knew if I went out too fast, my legs would give out in the second or third mile,” he said after wrapping up the race in a time of 17:23. “So I went out a little slower … but that might have just been for (Monday). If I think I can go out hard and stay out (in future races), I’ll probably do that.”
Peters was the top finisher for fifth-ranked (Class 2A) South Hamilton, which finished a somewhat disappointing third in the eight-team field with 69 points. The Hawks knew that second-ranked (3A) Gilbert was simply in another zip code and that turned out to be true, as the Tigers dominated with a conference-championship 23 points. But Nevada snuck up and surprised South Hamilton; the Cubs jumped into second with 65 points.
“I don’t really know what happened,” South Hamilton head coach Darrell Paulsen said. “It didn’t look like we ran our best race … we got third, that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Led by individual champion Rees Tyler — he was the only competitor to break 17 minutes, as he crossed in 16:52 — Gilbert’s talent and depth were jaw-dropping. The Tigers put all five of their scoring runners in the top eight, had six in the top nine and all seven varsity competitors in the top 11.
But wait, there’s more.
With the varsity and junior varsity competing together, Gilbert put a total of 11 runners in the top 19.
Nevada’s Malachi Hornbuckle (17:08) was the runner-up and Gilbert’s Nathan Patel (17:12) was third.
Rees, Hornbuckle and Patel are all top-20 ranked individuals in 3A, while Peters is No. 20 in 2A.
South Hamilton was the only other school besides Gilbert with three top-10 performers. Josiah Brown put together a strong final mile and placed seventh in 17:48. He admitted that he doesn’t enjoy running in gusting winds and it took a toll on him on the back of the course.
“I’m a taller guy, so I’m not the best in the wind,” he said. “I think that’s why I didn’t quite have the race I expected.”
Hawks’ sophomore Quinton Grove sprinted the final 200 meters to ensure himself of the final top-10 spot. He crossed the finish line in 17:55.
“Our top three runners were right where they needed to be,” Paulsen said.
Ty Skartvedt (18:42) placed 19th for South Hamilton and Aaron Hegland (19:10) put together a strong finish to pick off two runners down the straightaway on his way to a 29th-place result.
Nevada was able to sneak in front of South Hamilton by placing all five of its scorers in the top 18.
Even though South Hamilton had higher aspirations, Paulsen says the team can now turn its focus to next week’s State Qualifying Meet. The Hawks, who have competed in the past two state meets, will be one of the favorites at the qualifier in Dike next Thursday.
“We’ll be able to use this (disappointment) as a motivator into the second part of the season,” Paulsen said.
Peters, Brown and Grove are all veterans of the postseason. Peters says they’ll need to prepare their more inexperienced teammates, particularly Skartvedt and Hegland, for the upcoming battle.
“We’re a pretty tight group,” Peters said. “We’ve got to tell Ty and Aaron that it’s pretty much like any other meet.”
1. Gilbert 23; 2. Nevada 65; 3. South Hamilton 69; 4. Roland-Story 104; 5. North Polk 126; 6. Saydel 163; 7. Prairie City-Monroe 195; 8. Greene County 244.
Individual All-HOIC (Top 14)
1. Rees Tyler (GIL) 16:52; 2. Malachi Hornbuckle (NEV) 17:08; 3. Nathan Patel (GIL) 17:12; 4. Logan Peters (SH) 17:23; 5. Zane Miller (GIL) 17:33; 6. Hank Powers (GIL) 17:47; 7. Josiah Brown (SH) 17:48; 8. John Ockey (GIL) 17:53; 9. Jason Taylor (GIL) 17:53; 10. Quinton Grove (SH) 17:55; 11. Griffin Ruba (GIL) 17:57; 12. Carter Franzen (NEV) 18:04; 13. Nick Wakefield (R-S) 18:05; 14. Jacob Wilcox (NP) 18:18.
Other South Hamilton Results
19. Ty Skartvedt 18:42; 29. Aaron Hegland 19:10; 44. Gage Koster 20:20; 46. Clay Willadsen 21:03.