Ebrecht, Piper lead way for Lynx girls; Humboldt champs again

HAMPTON – The runners hadn’t even gone 50 meters of the 5-kilometer race, but it was already over.

There were 50 competitors in the field, but 49 of them were already competing for second place before anyone even had a chance to blink.

It was the Bryce Gidel show. Again.

Humboldt’s uber-talented freshman kept her perfect varsity record intact – she’s toed the line seven times and exited the courses with seven gold medals – at picturesque Maynes Grove on Tuesday, as she was the wire-to-wire leader of the girls’ race at the North Central Conference meet.

Gidel, who set the Lynx Invite meet record in Webster City back in early September, ran all by her lonesome through the trees, up the hills and around the pond as a large throng of fans cheered her on. She crossed the finish line in 19 minutes, 26.71 seconds, 34 seconds ahead of teammate and runner-up Gabby Kent (20:00.87).

No. 11-ranked (Class 3A) Humboldt hoarded all the hardware. With three runners in the top six and all five scorers among the top 14, the Wildcats coasted to their fourth consecutive conference title and seventh in eight years with 33 points. Clear Lake was well back in the runner-up slot with 69 points, followed by sixth-ranked (1A) Fort Dodge St. Edmond (75).

“Humboldt is hitting on all cylinders this year,” Webster City head coach Joe Lambert said after he guided his girls’ crew to a sixth-place effort for a second straight season with 167 points. “They’re just outstanding and you’ve got to congratulate them.”

Aubrie Fisher (20:07.10), the 2015 individual conference gold medalist, was third for Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR, while teammate Bethany Lippert (20:38.65) took fourth.

At first-glance, Webster City’s towards the back of the pack performance may look pedestrian, but Lambert was satisfied with what his group of six was able to accomplish. Larae Ebrecht was a solid leader and two others set personal-best times.

“Some of the girls have started to become really reliable,” Lambert said. “This team is doing really well and it’s all coming together at the right time.”

Ebrecht pulled away from teammate Emma Piper during the second mile and eventually crossed the finish line in 23:34.08 to take 23rd place. Piper was noticeably uncomfortable during stretches of the race, but managed to hang on to place 31st in 24:41.10.

Haley Flaws had her best 5K with a time of 25:41.39, good enough for 36th, as did Mariana Garcia (27:04.35), who was 46th. Kaitlyn Wagner (26:17.65) sandwiched between the two in 40th. Sharina Deroches (27:24.43) rounded out the team in the 48th position.

It’s now onto the postseason for WCHS, which will be a part of the 3A State Qualifying Meet field at Spencer Municipal Golf Course next Thursday.

The Lynx expect to have Haley Johnson back in the lineup for the first time since the Lynx Invite. Johnson, the team’s leader throughout the 2015 season, has been hobbled by a leg injury throughout the fall. She placed 14th at the 2015 NCC meet.