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HEY, IT’S A START

BOYS:?Willson cracks top 10, but he’s not satisfied; WCHS 3rd behind ranked squads

Webster City’s Jacob Willson (front) and Matt Perin make the sharp turn around a tree during the early stages of the 5K race at the Lynx Invitational on Tuesday at Briggs Woods Golf Course. Willson placed ninth, Perin 21st. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — The sweat pouring out of Jacob Willson was matched only by the frustration that dripped off his every word as he milled around the Webster City team camp following his run at Tuesday’s Lynx Invitational.

The WCHS senior leader had just placed in the top 10 and guided his crew to a third-place finish in the season opener — not bad at all, right? — but he wasn’t satisfied. Far from it, in fact.

“I just didn’t prep well,” Willson said. “I’m not trying to make excuses for racing bad, but I wasn’t really satisfied. I should have been in the top five today.”

Expecting a 5K time below 18 minutes, Willson was not pleased with the 18:31 he clocked at Briggs Woods Golf Course. It placed him ninth in a field of 98 runners, and even though the course was sprinkled with several challenging hills, he felt he should have been faster.

“It’s the first meet of the year and I don’t think I should ever be satisfied, but I think I can learn from how I went out,” he said. “On a course like this at the beginning of the year, 17:50 is pretty reasonable. I had a chance to do that, but my legs were just not going. I wasn’t feeling it.”

South Hamilton’s Ty Skartvedt travels down a short incline at Tuesday’s Lynx Invitational. He placed 13th overall. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Willson’s frustration stemmed from the expectations he heaped upon himself and his team. WCHS expected to challenge front runners North Polk and Humboldt, but it never materialized. The Lynx tallied 129 points to comfortably sit in third. The fifth-ranked (Class 3A) Comets dominated the field with all five scorers in the top eight en route to 26 pints. The eighth-ranked (3A) Wildcats had the two fastest competitors and were second with 54.

Quinton Orr, the 2019 individual state runner-up in 3A, dominated the race from the start. His winning time of 16:16 was more than a minute better than his Humboldt teammate and silver medalist Eric Wittrock (17:30).

South Hamilton received a 13th-place finish from its senior leader Ty Skartvedt, who turned in a time of 18:38. The Hawks were 11th overall with 253 points.

“It was a pretty hard course and it was a good challenge in the first meet of the season,” Skartvedt, a two-time state qualifier, said. “I need to work on steeper hills and exploding up, and then work hard on finishing down the hills so I can get the energy to go back up.”

WCHS had a strong four-man lead pack, but a drop to the fifth and final scorer cost it a chance to make Humboldt nervous.

Reece Sadler (center) leads Webster City’s pre-race huddle at Tuesday’s Lynx Invitational. WCHS placed third behind North Polk and Humboldt. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“I was pleased with our effort, but you could tell by our splits that it was our first race of the year,” WCHS head coach Derek Turner said. “This wasn’t our best race, not even close, and they’re not happy being second fiddle to Humboldt. They want to be a state qualifying team, that’s that goal and that’s the tradition at Webster City.”

Jose Martinez took the early team lead for WCHS while Willson hung back over the first mile. Willson eventually pushed to the front, but Ramirez hung on late to finish 16th in 18:55. Cole Reiling took the final top-20 spot in 19:31, one spot and three seconds ahead of teammate Matt Perin (21st, 19:16).

Reece Sadler was the final scoring runner; he was 64th in 20:59.

“The gap between our four and our five is pretty big right now and that’s something we’re working on,” Turner said. “But no one ran an outstanding race. We have a lot of room to grow, but the thing is, we’re able to do that. We can definitely be a contending team with Humboldt by the end of the year.”

Even though South Hamilton was toward the back of the 14-team field, head coach Darrell Paulsen was encouraged. He pointed out 41st-place finisher Eli Potter, who turned in a time of 20:08, which was actually faster than his time a season ago when the meet was held on the much flatter course at The Links golf course.

South Hamilton’s Eli Potter (center) pushes up the final hill toward the finish line on Tuesday. He placed 41st. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“Eleventh doesn’t look good, but there were a lot of big schools in there,” Paulsen said. “We’ve got a ways to go, but it wasn’t too bad for the first night. I thought we ran pretty well and I think it’s going to get better as we progress throughout the season. It was a tough course and we’re going to get better once we get more runs underneath our belt.”

Landon Grove (20:46) filled the No. 3 slot for South Hamilton, as he placed 56th. Clay Willadsen (21:29) fell back over the final mile and finished in 73rd, while Gage Koster (21:36) was seven seconds back in 74th.

Lynx Invitational

Tuesday at Briggs Woods GC

Team Standings

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

1. North Polk 26; 2. Humboldt 54; 3. Webster City 129; 4. Roland-Story 164; 5. St. Edmond 169; 6. Fort Dodge 196; 7. Algona 224; 8. Boone 230; 9. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows 233; 10. Southeast Valley 235; 11. South Hamilton 253; 12. Hampton-Dumont/CAL 270; 13. Eagle Grove 299; 14. Manson-Northwest Webster 302.

Individual Top 10

1. Quinton Orr (HUM) 16:16; 2. Eric Wittrock (HUM) 17:30; 3. Zach Sporaa (NP) 17:34; 4. Will Ford (NP) 17:48; 5. Max Sporaa (NP) 18:07; 6. Caleb Henderson (NP) 18:19; 7. Joshua Madden (FD) 18:29; 8. Alik McIlravy (NP) 18:29; 9. Jacob Willson (WC) 18:31; 10. Ryan Studndahl (ALG) 18:33.

Webster City Results

9. Jacob Willson 18:31; 16. Jose Ramirez 18:55; 20. Cole Reiling 19:13; 21. Matt Perin 19:16; 64. Reece Sadler 20:59; 66. Wyatt Bingham 21:05; 86. Sam Moberly 22:23.

South Hamilton Results

13. Ty Skartvedt 18:38; 41. Eli Potter 20:08; 56. Landon Grove 20:46; 73. Clay Willadsen 21:29; 74. Gage Koster 21:36; 90. Colton Fink 22:36.

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