Grove bests Peters, Hawks 2nd to No. 1 Madrid

South Hamilton’s Quinton Grove (left) and Logan Peters (right) run with Madrid’s top-ranked Sean McDermott during yesterday’s Gilbert Early Bird on the Iowa State University course in Ames. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

AMES — It’s like a heavyweight prize fight every time South Hamilton teammates Quinton Grove and Logan Peters toe the line. Throw Madrid’s top-ranked Sean McDermott into the mix and it’s must-see.

All three were on the Iowa State University cross country course to kick off the season at the Gilbert Early Bird yesterday evening and helped set the pace throughout the 5-kilometer journey over the hills and through the trees.

McDermott won the battle and the Class B individual title, while Grove came out on the better end of the rivalry between teammates.

“There’s still work to do, that’s for sure,” Grove said after he placed third, one spot in front of Peters, in a time of 17:43. “We need to work on hills a little bit more. We’ve got to be able to stay tough through those.”

Top-ranked (Class 1A) Madrid (36 points) earned the team title by 33 points over third-ranked South Hamilton (69). But the Hawks were without No. 5 runner Aaron Hegland, who head coach Darrell Paulsen said will sit out the early portion of the season while nursing an injury.

South Hamilton’s Abby Ervin (left) is all smiles as she and teammate Yolanda Licea catch their breaths post race on Thursday in Ames. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“That’s a good start to the season,” Paulsen said of the runner-up finish in a field of 13 teams, six of which are ranked in either 1A or 2A. “We just have to stay healthy and we’ll be OK.”

No. 14-ranked Earlham was third with 87, while No. 8 Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center (116) and 11th-ranked (2A) Des Moines Christian (130) rounded out the top five.

Grove and Peters ran a tactical race and surrounded McDermott as ACGC’s Noah Nelsen pushed out front early on. McDermott made his move on the back of the course over the final mile and jumped in front of Nelsen to claim gold in 17:16. Nelsen was second in 17:29.

Grove and Peters stayed in close contact until the closing half-mile when Grove moved a few meters in front. Peters crossed in 17:49, six seconds behind Grove.

“I obviously wanted to beat him, so it wasn’t the race I wanted,” Peters said while pointing to his teammate and smiling. “I knew I was going to stay with McDermott … we’ve run with him so many times, we know what he’s going to do. We just have to stay with him from 21⁄2 to three (miles) and we have to get stronger.”

Ty Skartvedt makes the final push towards the finish line as South Hamilton teammate Gaige Pickering follows closely behind on the Iowa State course yesterday in Ames. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

South Hamilton fought with Madrid through its top four runners. Ty Skartvedt and Gaige Pickering hung together throughout the journey and finished 12th and 13th, respectively. Skartvedt turned in a time of 18:40, two seconds in front of Pickering.

“Ty ran really well and having Gaige Pickering back is really helpful,” Paulsen said.

Clay Willadsen gave the Hawks their fifth counter; he was 37th in 20:41. A total of 162 runners were entered into the race.

The youth movement of the South Hamilton girls’ team was on full display, as three sophomores and a pair of freshmen vaulted the squad into the top five, precisely where the Hawks had hoped to finish.

Looking comfortable throughout, Abby Ervin navigated her way to the front of the Hawks’ pack over the second half of the race and then continued to move forward on her way to a 14th-place finish in a field of 110 competitors.

South Hamilton sophomore Yolanda Licea rests her head on the stomach of teammate Paige Seaton moments following the end of the girls’ Class B race at the Gilbert Early Bird in Ames yesterday. Licea placed 20th and Licea was 33rd, as both were scoring runners for the Hawks. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

A summer dedicated to conditioning paid off, Ervin said.

“I tried to run six days a week for most of June,” Ervin said after she finished in 23:33. “(The race) didn’t seem as hard as when I walked the course. I was able to talk myself out of it before I started, but in the race I had my teammates pushing me and the crowd around me. They were motivational.”

All five of South Hamilton’s scorers placed among the top 33, which brought a smile to the face of first-year head coach Emily Bochmann.

“I’m so happy for the girls and I know they gave their best, so I couldn’t ask for more,” Bochmann said. “The girls had great packs and I was super excited for that because that’s been something we’ve worked on.”

Yolanda Licea (24:26) separated from teammates Anna Lammers (24:45) and Marissa Jensen (24:56) over the final mile and sprinted the final 100 meters to hang on to 20th place. Lammers settled into 25th place and Jensen wasn’t far behind in 28th.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Paige Seaton (25:17) placed 33rd.

Bochmann thinks Lammers and Seaton, both freshmen, and No. 6 runner Natalie Johnson will be key to the development of the team.

“Those freshmen finish off that top five,” she said. “They and Natalie will kind of set the tone for the season. We need all of those runners.”

No. 5-ranked (2A) Panorama buried the girls’ field and won the team crown with 46 points. Earlham was second with 71, followed by No. 11 ACGC (87) and West Marshall (104).

Gilbert Early Bird

Thursday at Ames


Team Standings (Class B)

1. Panorama 46; 2. Earlham 71; 3. Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center 87; 4. West Marshall 104; 5. South Hamilton 108; 6. Madrid 134; 7. Pleasantville 144; 8. Van Meter 223; 9. Ogden 265; 10. Coon Rapids-Bayard 285.

Individual Top 5

1. Kate Crawford (ACGC) 20:38; 2. Ella Waddle (PAN) 21:02; 3. Grace Girard (WM) 22:21; 4. Gwen Steffen (PAN) 22:27; 5. Lauryn Embleton (ACGC) 22:31.

South Hamilton Results

14. Abby Ervin 23:33; 20. Yolanda Licea 24:26; 25. Anna Lammers 24:45; 28. Marissa Jensen 24:56; 33. Paige Seaton 25:17; 68. Natalie Johnson 27:23; 75. Ella Carlson 27:59.


Team Standings (Class B)

1. Madrid 36; 2. South Hamilton 69; 3. Earlham 87; 4. Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center 116; 5. Des Moines Christian 130; 6. Ogden 156; 7. Van Meter 191; 8. Pella Christian 198; 9. Eagle Grove 225; 10. West Marshall 231; 11. Panorama 278; 12. Ankeny Christian Academy 335; 13. Pleasantville 417.

Individual Top 5

1. Sean McDermott (MAD) 17:16; 2. Noah Nelsen (ACGC) 17:29; 3. Quinton Grove (SH) 17:43; 4. Logan Peters (SH) 17:49; 5. Jason Renze (MAD) 18:06.

Other South Hamilton Results

12. Ty Skartvedt 18:40; 13. Gaige Pickering 18:42; 37. Clay Willadsen 20:41; 66. Trevor Lammers 21:45; 69. Gage Koster 21:50.