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Lynx boys break the streak, vault into the runner-up spot at NCC meet

Webster City’s Jacob Willson (left) and Matt Perin (right) climb a hill as a large group gives chase in the background at Tuesday’s NCC meet. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — It may sound crazy, but it’s true — boredom is just what the Webster City boys’ cross country team needed to get over a North Central Conference hump that had been too tall for five consecutive years.

Third at the conference meet from 2014-18, the Lynx finally took that step forward they’ve yearned for on their home course on Tuesday, as they placed second behind 11th-ranked (Class 3A) and league champion Humboldt on a brutally cold and windy evening at the Webster City Links.

Humboldt lived up to the billing as the overwhelming favorite by scoring 29 points. WCHS finished with 63, 15 points in front of third-place finisher St. Edmond (78).

So what was the Lynx missing piece? Say hello to junior Matt Perin, a first-year runner and one of the newest members of the all-conference team. With plenty of time to spare during the fall months, he opted to give cross country a try and it’s worked out well for everybody inside the program.

“I just went out for fun because I didn’t have anything else to do,” Perin, who placed eighth in 18:01, said. “But if I do go out I’m obviously trying to be one of the best on my team. It’s been fun and I have surprised myself because I didn’t know I could run this fast.”

Lynx sophomore Cole Reiling receives a hug from his dad, Travis, as mom Joni waits for her turn following his 17th-place performance at the conference meet at the Webster City Links. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS had three all-conference runners inside the top eight, a feat matched only by Humboldt, who also took home individual gold, silver and bronze.

Jacob Willson, a junior, was the first WCHS runner to cross the finish line. He steadily moved up throughout the race and settled into fifth in 17:33.

“Just to know that all of the summer training paid off, I’m really happy,” Willson said. “It’s really special because my friend from last year, John Piaszynski, he wasn’t able to medal and he worked so hard. So it’s an honor.”

Jose Ramirez came across right after Willson — sixth in 17:59. A sophomore, Ramirez set the pace for his WCHS teammates and ran with the pack that included runner-up Eric Wittrock (17:20) of Humboldt throughout the first mile. Willson and Perin both fed off Ramirez’s energy, and Willson says he knew his time to surge would eventually come.

“Jose helps us a lot because when he’s up in front it gives me something to chase after and it gives me more motivation to catch up,” Willson said. “I knew everybody was going to go out fast because it’s the conference meet and nerves are running high. I just laid back and did what I do.”

WCHS sophomore Jose Ramirez (front) leads a pack of runners down the backstretch during Tuesday’s NCC meet at the Webster City Links. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Cole Reiling gave WCHS a fourth top-20 performer, as the sophomore claimed 17th place in 18:48. Kasey Porters’s 27th-place result in 19:25 cemented the team silver.

“All of us are super happy about it,” Perin said. “It’s awesome to be second.”

Jackson Moberly (29th, 19:37), the only senior in the lineup, and junior Reece Sadler (38th, 20:38) rounded out the Lynx crew.

Humboldt junior Quinton Orr buried the field and won his first individual league title in 16:19, more than a minute in front of Wittrock.

NCC Meet

Humboldt junior Quinton Orr, the 2019 individual NCC champion. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Tuesday at Webster City

Team Standings

1. Humboldt 29; 2. Webster City 63; 3. St. Edmond 78; 4. Clear Lake 87; 5. Algona 129; 6. Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR 159; 7. Hampton-Dumont 200; 8. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows 206.

Individual Leaders (Medalists)

1. Quinton Orr (HUM) 16:19; 2. Eric Wittrock (HUM) 17:20; 3. Devon Coon (HUM) 17:25; 4. Justin Wright (CL) 17:31; 5. Jacob Willson (WC) 17:33; 6. Jose Ramirez (WC) 17:59; 7. Andrew Nicholson (IF-A) 18:00; 8. Matt Perin (WC) 18:01.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Other Webster City Results

17. Cole Reiling 18:48; 27. Kasey Porter 19:25; 29. Jackson Moberly 19:37; 38. Reece Sadler 20:38.

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