Lynx boys bring home title; Bultena, Hjelmeland in top 10
ELDORA – A strong first mile and a consistent pack throughout helped to propel the Webster City boys’ cross country team to its first meet championship of the season here on Saturday.
The Lynx had five runners inside the top 12 during the first mile and finished with all five of their scorers among the top 20 en route to 63 points and an eight-point edge over runner-up and 10th-ranked (Class 2A) East Marshall (71 points) at the South Hardin Invite.
The course at Pine Lake State Park has always been challenging, but a confidence built in training paid off.
“I told the guys at the beginning that this was a race that we could win and they were pretty excited,” WCHS head coach Joe Lambert said. “We hung in there really well. We won enough of those individual battles where our point totals turned out very well.”
Tyler Bultena, Dawson Hjelmeland, John Piaszynski, Trey Nelson and Evan Mark all took off together early on. The groups splintered during the tougher second mile, but WCHS finished with a gap of just 1 minute, 7 seconds between its scorers.
Bultena gained the upper hand on his teammates down the stretch and dashed through the finish line in 18:13 to place fourth overall. Hjelmeland (18:36) and Piaszynski (18:58) also broke 19 minutes and placed seventh and 13th, respectively. Nelson (19:14) was 17th and Mark (19:20) took 20th.
Lynx No. 6 runner Max Harfst (19:23) nearly caught Mark down the final straightaway; he finished 22nd. Matt Johnson (19:44) rounded out the lineup in 29th.
Still battling injuries and illnesses, the WCHS girls’ team wound up in eighth place with 206 points. Emma Piper was the squad’s top finisher; she took 21st in 23:48.
“We had three girls that were coming off stick days on Thursday and Friday, so they weren’t at the top of their games,” Lambert said.
Kaitlyn Wagner (36th, 25:29), Haley Flaws (48th, 27:04), Marianna Garcia (50th, 28:00) and Larae Ebrecht (51st, 28:04) were also scoring runners.
The Lynx junior varsity boys’ team also ran to the top of the standings led by the runner-up effort of Kyle Porter (20:03). Logan Mark (20:30) was third, Isaac Bernard (20:30) fifth, Tucker Judkins (20:48) eighth and Thomas Garcia (21:29) 14th.
The JV crew tallied 32 points to nip Nevada by a single point.
WCHS will jump into a much larger pond on Thursday when it heads to the state-meet course at Lakeside Golf Course for the Fort Dodge Invite. The field will be dominated by 4A programs.