AMES - Kayla Lucas ran 4 kilometers and one step before she kissed the ground on a picturesque afternoon at the ISU cross country course yesterday.
Meghan Fisher made it 4 kilometers and four steps before she joined her teammate crumpled near the finish line.
But, hey, with a lot of pain came a lot of gain.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
South Hamilton sophomore Kayla Lucas (350) stays focused as she climbs the first hill at yesterday's Class 2A State Qualifying Meet in Ames. The Hawks placed second to advance to state.
Every member of the South Hamilton girls' team emptied the gas tank at a Class 2A State Qualifying Meet, and the reward was a second consecutive trip to state following a runner-up finish in the field of 12.
The eighth-ranked Hawks placed all five scoring runners in the top 25 and compiled 88 points, trailing only No. 4 Gilbert (58), which had the individual champion in defending 2A state gold medalist Sadie Timms (16:10.77). Third-place finisher and No. 10 Roland-Story (107) also advanced to state.
All three will run on Saturday at Lakeside Golf Course on the outskirts of Fort Dodge.
1. Gilbert 58; 2. South Hamilton 88; 3. Roland-Story 107; 4. East Marshall 123; 5. South Hardin 150; 6. Madrid 178; 7. Osage 186; 8. Hampton-Dumont 189; 9. Aplington-Parkersburg 192; 10. Bondurant-Farrar 222; 11. Central Springs 228; 12. West Marshall 260.
Individual Top 10
1. Sadie Timms (G) 16:10.77; 2. Paige Miller (EM) 16:22.24; 3. Karli Rastetter (G) 16:22.56; 4. Haley Fye (EM) 16:28.48; 5. Sydney Lawrence (M) 16:29.12; 6. Annie Pollard (G) 16:29.71; 7. Victoria Pothast (WM) 16:30.23; 8. Claire Damon (SHar) 16:30.32; 9. Kayla Lucas (Sham) 16:32.97; 10. Kristen Amendt (EM) 16:38.22.
South Hamilton Results
9. Kayla Lucas 16:32.97; 15. Allyson Ervin 17:19.74; 18. Rachael Huegerich 17:39.08; 22. Meghan Fisher 17:51.84; 25. Kali Lucas 17:57.31; 31. Jessica Zoske 18:18.60; 51. Sidney Alsager 19:13.63.
1. Gilbert 55; 2. Osage 88; 3. East Marshall 120; 4. North Iowa 136; 5. West Marshall 153; 6. Bondurant-Farrar 158; 7. South Hardin 168; 8. Central Springs 189; 9. Roland-Story 205; 10. South Hamilton 224; 11. Forest City 243; 12. Hampton-Dumont 301; 13. Madrid 316.
Individual Top 10
1. Thomas Pollard (G) 17:26.78; 2. Wesley Greder (G) 17:30.09; 3. Tyler Randall (O) 17:41.59; 4. Ben Terrones (EM) 17:46.40; 5. Tim Rose (SHar) 17:47.52; 6. Jonah Roggensack (O) 17:57.25; 7. Connor Smith (NI) 17:59.53; 8. Brian Becker (NI) 18:06.45; 9. Chad Ullmann (FC) 18:15.73; 10. John Stanish (SHar) 18:20.37.
South Hamilton Results
19. Jacob Heeren 18:57.41; 43. Alex Bristow 19:58.20; 50. Zach Coster 20:15.22; 56. Jordan Toillion 20:24.57; 61. Jordan Lutjen 20:36.34; 63. Caleb Olson 20:44.29; 78. Luke Jacoby 21:58.47.
No other team in the field had five runners among the first 25 to cross.
"This is really exciting," Lucas, a sophomore who served as team leader by placing ninth in 16:32.97, said after managing to catch her breath. "To make it (to state) again is just awesome."
Fighting off a lingering cold in recent weeks, Lucas was finally able to unleash her entire arsenal and the result was a fight to the finish with the front pack. She finished just 22 seconds behind Timms and the rest of the Hawks followed with strong performances.
"It was just exhaustion (at the end)," Lucas said. "The whole race I felt tired, but I just had to keep going and I felt like I had a really good race."
South Hamilton will be represented at the state meet for an 18th consecutive year, and that brought relief to rookie head coach Darrell Paulsen.
"The girls are excited and I'm relieved," Paulsen said. "I knew coming in we had a pretty good shot, but the kids performed and it was a team effort. It was fun."
Sophomore Allyson Ervin and freshman Rachael Huegerich jockeyed with each other for much of the race. Ervin (17:19.74) used her long stride and fierce kick to push into 15th by the end of the race, and Huegerich (17:39.08) checked in three spots behind in 18th.
Fisher (17:51.84) didn't fall until she clipped two runners over the final 100 meters to finish in 23th; there were 87 total runners.
Kali Lucas (17:57.31) - Kayla's twin sister - cemented the state berth in 25th.
The South Hamilton boys were 10th with 224 points. Fifth-ranked Gilbert (55), No. 11 Osage (88) and East Marshall (120) secured the state-meet tickets.
"I was really proud of the boys, too. They ran hard," Paulsen said. "It was a tough (field), but we performed really well against some pretty big schools."
Sophomore Jacob Heeren had an outside shot of cracking the top 10 and qualifying as an individual, as he galloped in 11th at the halfway point, but he was unable to reel in the leaders and eventually placed 19th in 18:57.41.
"For the first 2 miles Jacob gave it everything he's got," Paulsen said. "I was really proud of him."
Alex Bristow (19:58.20) finished in 43rd, Zach Coster (20:11.33) was 50th, Jordan Toillion (20:24.57) 56th, and Jordan Lutjen (20:36.34) 61st.