Bultena, Piazynski in the top 10 for third-place Lynx at Marshalltown

MARSHALLTOWN – The Joe Lambert era in charge of the Webster City cross country program officially began yesterday afternoon and the rookie head coach walked away more than satisfied with how his teams performed.

Surprised? No, not really.

With an experienced bunch of boys back, the Lynx met their lofty expectations by placing third behind a pair of Class 4A programs at the Marshalltown Early Bird. With just four runners, the Lynx girls were unable to put up a team score, but that didn’t diminish the performances, Lambert said.

“Everybody went out and did their absolute best. I have no complaints about anybody,” Lambert said. “I didn’t have any idea how (the boys) would do in the team race, but when we pull down third place behind a couple of 4A teams, that feels pretty good.”

No. 15-ranked Urbandale exited with the boys’ team title after compiling just 37 points, a sizable distance ahead of runner-up Waterloo West (72). Webster City (80) was close behind and 13 points ahead of fourth-place finisher Southeast Polk (93).

Three Lynx runners placed in the top 15 and four crossed in the top 20.

Junior Tyler Bultena assumed the position as the team leader, but he had company. Bultena completed the 5-kilometer course at Marshalltown Community College in 18:10 to finish ninth, but just a few steps behind was teammate John Piazynski in 10th with a time of 18:16. Dawson Hjelmeland’s tour in 18:23 was good enough for 15th, while Trey Nelson took 19th in 18:42.

“The kids had great attitudes and they were really excited to try out the race plans they had,” Lambert said. “Those guys are driven. I wasn’t sure how the back half of our varsity would hold up, but those guys did well.”

Max Harfst (19:14) completed the scoring five in 30th position, just slightly ahead of 33rd-place finisher Kyle Porter (19:25).

Des Moines Roosevelt owned the girls’ field with just 26 points, 41 ahead of 15th-ranked and runner-up Urbandale (67).

Still trying to fully recover from an ankle injury she sustained in the preseason, Haley Johnson toughed out the difficult terrain to finish a team-best 28th in 24:08 for the Lynx. Newcomer Emma Piper (25:23) was next in 42nd, followed by Kaitlyn Wagner (26:15) in 49th and Haley Flaws (27:41) in 58th.

Flaws is also attempting to get back into race shape after missing a significant portion of the summer training session with a leg injury she sustained playing softball for the Lynx.

WCHS will return home to host its Lynx Invite on Tuesday. Racing from the Webster City Links will get underway at 5 p.m.