Career best times, tight pack push WCHS boys into top 10 at Algona

ALGONA – Four career-best runs and the tightest pack of the season allowed the Webster City boys’ cross country team to finish among the top seven at Monday’s deep and talented Algona Invitational.

Seth Crouthamel, Connor Foster, Demar Lemus and Trey Nelson all clocked their fastest 5-kilometer times to help Webster City put together 221 points for a seventh-place finish in the field of 18 teams and more than 110 runners.

No. 14-ranked (Class 4A) Fort Dodge Senior dominated and finished with 23 points to win the team crown easily at River Road Golf Club. No. 11 (3A) Charles City was second with 75, followed by No. 6 (3A) Algona with 96.

“Our boys showed marked improvement,” WCHS head coach Tony Bussan said. “It’s particularly good to see this level of improvement at this point in the season.”

Crouthamel’s journey around the course lasted 17:47 and was good enough for 33rd place.

Webster City’s next five runners were separated by just 11 seconds.

Bultena, the lone freshman in the lineup, was the first of the pack to reach the finish; he was 44th in 18:14. Foster (18:19) was right on his heels in 48th, Lemus (18:20) followed him across in 49th, Nelson (18:22) was another two seconds back in 52nd, and Jacob Perin (18:25) was right there in 53rd despite feeling under the weather.

Courtney Biere anchored the Webster City girls’ team with her best 4K performance over the past two years. The junior finished in 17:04 – just six seconds off her all-time best – to take 34th place.

“I was very pleased by the individual performance of Courtney,” Bussan said. “It is great to see the progress that Courtney is making as a junior.”

The Lynx struggled as a team and finished outside the top 10; their output of 323 points pushed them back to 12th overall.

“As a squad we were unable to put together an effective scoring pack and until we narrow our gaps it will be difficult for us to move up as a team,” Bussan said.

Rookie Haley Johnson (17:45) settled into the No. 2 spot in the lineup and placed 58th. Larae Ebrecht (18:05) took 72nd, Ashley Flaws (18:13) 76th and Cassidy Bultena (18:54) 88th to round out the scoring.

Second-ranked (1A) Pocahontas Area threw up 38 points to win the team title by 69 points over runner-up and 11th-ranked (3A) Humboldt (107).

Cole Zahn and Jason McVicker were top 10 finishers for the WCHS junior varsity boys’ squad. Zahn (18:34) placed sixth, while McVicker (18:52) settled into ninth.

Faith McClain (18:55) slid into 16th place to lead the WCHS junior varsity girls’ squad.

WCHS take part in the South Hardin Invite on Saturday in Eldora.