Hawks face adversity at Gilbert Early Bird

South Hamilton junior Abby Ervin pushes through the final half-mile as her dad, Scott, shouts encouragement her way during yesterday’s Gilbert Early Bird at the ISU course in Ames. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

AMES — With his hands on his head and his lips pursed, Quinton Grove stared straight ahead, the steam metaphorically coming out of his ears as he caught his breath at the ISU cross country course yesterday evening.

The South Hamilton senior expects to win races and, at worst, to contend at the front of the pack. Not just some of the time; all of the time.

Never one to sugarcoat things or hide from his feelings, Grove’s reaction to his finish outside the top 10 at the Gilbert Early Bird was predictable.

“I’m say I’m embarrassed. Really embarrassed,” Grove said. “I was just frustrated the whole time and I didn’t feel quite right.”

Unofficially, the 2018 all-state runner placed 14th in a time of 18:28 in the Class B field. Official results weren’t available due to a malfunction with the timing chips used by each of the runners.

Quinton Grove catches his breath following yesterday’s season-opening meet in Ames. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Grove said he’s currently dealing with soreness in both his right arm and left leg, but he quickly shot down the notion that those ailments played a role in his performance.

“Those are just excuses, I’ve got to push through those,” he said.

Abby Ervin, the leader of the South Hamilton girls’ team, felt some of the same frustrations as Grove, although she was a little bit easier on herself. She also placed 14th unofficially in 24:27, but her time was considerably higher than she had hoped for prior to the start of the race.

“I’m kind of disappointed,” she said. “I was hoping to finish closer to 221⁄2 minutes … but it’s the first meet, I got it out of the way, and now it’s just about training mentally and physically to get back to where I was at the end of last season.”

Aaron Hegland was the only other South Hamilton boys’ runner to break 20 minutes on the hilly course that is always challenging. He crossed in 19:34.

South Hamilton freshman Paige Doolittle rests against a post following the first varsity race of her career at the ISU course in Ames yesterday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Hegland was followed by Seth Godfredsen (20:19), Eli Potter (20:34), Clay Willadsen (20:58) and Seth Pencook (21:11).

Ty Skartvedt ran with Grove early on and completed the first mile, but dropped out of the race during the second mile.

Paige Doolittle and Anna Lammers ran together behind Ervin, but it was Doolittle, just a freshman, who eventually pushed the pace and occupied the No. 2 spot on the team. She finished in 24:59. Lammers (26:03) was next, followed by Chandler George (28:22), Natalie Johnson (29:45) and Marissa Jensen (30:33).

South Hamilton will head to Webster City on Tuesday to take part in the Lynx Invite. Grove placed second at the meet two years ago and following yesterday’s run he says he’ll take extra motivation onto the course at The Links.

“Tuesday I’ll be out to get them,” he said.

Aaron Hegland turns the corner during the boys’ race in Ames. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

South Hamilton junior Marissa Jensen (right) walks away from the finish line following her run at yesterday’s Gilbert Early Bird on the Iowa State University course in Ames. DFJ photo/Troy Banning