Hot, humid day takes a toll on Lynx at Ballard Invitational

WCHS freshman Emma Peck (right) cools down with a bag of ice on her head following her run at Monday’s Ballard Invite in Huxley. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

HUXLEY — Emma Peck had the right idea as she walked straight from the finish line towards a group of her Webster City teammates at Monday’s Ballard Invitational.

Less than 30 seconds after she completed the 5-kilometer course on the sometimes flat, sometimes hilly Ballard Golf and Country Club, the WCHS freshman had a bag of ice placed on top of her head to help her cool down.

She may not have won the actual race, but she won the race to recovery.

The course and competitive fields were just two of the variables that made the meet treacherous. Throw in scorching temperatures and humidity that made the air as thick as clam chowder and it wasn’t hard to decipher why times might have been higher than the norm.

Both the WCHS boys and girls struggled in the conditions, although head coach Joe Lambert surmised a tough week of training may have hindered his teams as much as the weather.

WCHS sophomore Jacie Crutcher pushes through the last half-mile at Monday’s Ballard Invitational in Huxley. She placed 40th in Class A to lead the Lynx girls. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“Every race day isn’t going to be a great race for us and (Monday) was one of those days,” Lambert said. “We’re in the middle of a training process and we had a little bit of a low energy level. We went out well in the first mile, but then struggled in the heat and hills through the rest of it. But I’m confident they’re roll back and do really well the next time out.”

The Lynx boys finished ninth in the Class A field with 265 points, while the girls were 11th with 316. A total of 12 teams were in the largest of the two classes.

It was a mini-state meet on the boys side, as five of the top seven Class 3A teams in the latest Iowa Association of Track Coaches rankings were in the field. Top-ranked Carlisle fended off No. 5 Norwalk by a single point, 64-65, while No. 2 Dallas Center-Grimes (77) was third. No. 3 Gilbert (81) took fourth and No. 7 Pella (82) was fifth.

WCHS may have been well out of the mix against the juggernaut field, but Lambert was happy to see the competition.

“It was kind of a test of where we need to go,” he said.

Webster City’s Cole Reiling (left) and Kasey Porter travel down a hill side by side at Monday’s Ballard Invite in Huxley. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

The Lynx were without Matthew Perin, who has run amongst the team’s leaders throughout the early portion of the season. Perin was absent due to illness.

Jacob Willson, who usually runs alongside Perin, was left to go it alone at the front of the team’s pack and he finished 39th in 19:07.0. Jose Ramirez, who took the early lead for the team but faded in the middle of the race, was 47th in 19:44.7. Cole Reiling (20:06.6) was 54th, followed by Jackson Moberly (20:24.4) in 61st and Kasey Porter (20:36.4) in 64th.

Lambert said his crew got out of position early in the race and was never able to adjust.

“The nature of the course at Ballard is that it goes from a really wide open grid to a really narrow funnel in the first 300 yards, and if you’re not among the first people to go through the funnel, it kind of checks you out later in the race,” he said. “Other teams out-sprinted us.”

The WCHS girls also fell well off the pace over the course of the first mile and stuck towards the back half of the field over the final two miles.

WCHS cross country coach Joe Lambert runs from one check point to the next to offer encouragement to his runners during the girls race at Monday’s Ballard Invite in Huxley. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

As she has done all season, Jacie Crutcher took the team lead by a wide margin. She maintained her position over the last half-mile and cruised into the finish in 23:50.0, good enough for 40th place.

“Jacie ran fairly consistent with where she’s been,” Lambert said. “I’m looking forward to seeing her break out a really good time.”

Kaelyn Butz had her best time of the season (26:02.0) to place 62nd. Peck (28:51.7) was the next WCHS runner to cross in 69th, followed by Ella Hansen (29:29.7) in 72nd and Allison Oswald (30:07.9) in 73rd.

Carlisle’s Ainsley Erzen, the No. 1-ranked individual in 3A, won the girls’ gold medal in 19:16.8, nearly 38 seconds ahead of runner-up and eighth-ranked Caroline McMartin (19:54.5) of Pella.

Nate Mueller of ADM, ranked No. 2 in 3A, was the boys’ individual champion in 16:38.0. No. 4 Aidan Ramsey of Dallas Center-Grimes was the silver medalist in 16:59.4.

Webster City’s Jose Ramirez leads a group of runners out of a narrow tunnel during the first mile at the Ballard Invite in Huxley on Monday. He placed 47th in the Class A field. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Ballard Invitational

Monday at Huxley

Girls Class A Results

Team Standings

1. Ballard 44; 2. Dallas Center-Grimes 47; 3. Norwalk 110; 4. Pella 152; 5. Carlisle 162; 6. Gilbert 169; 7. Winterset 171; 8. ADM 181; 9. Bondurant-Farrar 183; 10. Perry 259; 11. Webster City 316; 12. Boone 364.

Individual Top 10

1. Ainsley Erzen (CAR) 19:16.8; 2. Caroline McMartin (PEL) 19:54.5; 3. Megan Sterbenz (DCG) 19:59.1; 4. Shewaye Johnson (BAL) 20:02.4; 5. Paityn Noe (BAL) 20:09.8; 6. Geneva Timmerman (ADM) 20:29.9; 7. Ellie Twedt (BAL) 20:42.2; 8. Hannah Little (DCG) 20:50.9; 9. Jaylene Karolus (PER) 20:58.6; 10. Miranda Muhlstein (DCG) 21:05.2.

Webster City Results

40. Jacie Crutcher 23:50.0; 62. Kaelyn Butz 26:02.0; 69. Emma Peck 28:51.7; 72. Ella Hansen 29:29.7; 73. Allison Oswald 30:07.9; 80. Brynna Croy 32:48.5.

Boys Class A Results

Team Standings

1. Carlisle 64; 2. Norwalk 65; 3. Dallas Center-Grimes 77; 4. Gilbert 81; 5. Pella 82; 6. Bondurant-Farrar 181; 7. ADM 184; 8. Ballard 242; 9. Webster City 265; 10. Winterset 274; 11. Boone 314; 12. Perry 376.

Individual Top 10

1. Nate Mueller (ADM) 16:38.0; 2. Aidan Ramsey (DCG) 16:59.4; 3. Josiah Wittenberg (PEL) 17:20.2; 4. Griffin Ruba (GIL) 17:22.4; 5. Kolby Fritz (CAR) 17:25.5; 6. Kyle Miller (CAR) 17:35.2; 7. Derek Webster (NOR) 17:41.3; 8. Patrick Foster (NOR) 17:41.6; 9. Bradley Ramsey (DCG) 17:46.1; 10. Jacob Ewers (DCG) 17:57.6.

Webster City Results

39. Jacob Willson 19:07.0; 47. Jose Ramirez 19:44.7; 54. Cole Reiling 20:06.6; 61. Jackson Moberly 20:24.4; 64. Kasey Porter 20:36.4; 77. Reece Sadler 22:35.7; 80. Wyatt Bingham 23:07.6.


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