Lynx struggle at Ballard Invite loaded with top teams, individuals

WCHS senior Jose Ramirez takes a turn around a tree and heads down a long straightaway during the final mile of the Ballard Invite on Monday in Huxley. Ramirez was the Lynx top finisher with a 20th-place result in a Class A field that was loaded with elite teams. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

HUXLEY — Webster City cross country coach Derek Turner can look at the results and draw conclusions just like anyone else. Yeah, Monday’s 41st annual Ballard Invite didn’t go particularly well for his two teams, but the competition the Lynx faced had plenty to do with the ho-hum results.

Honestly, it was a mini-state meet, and the big dogs flexed on everyone.

“We were facing some of the top teams in the state here, so it was really tough,” Turner said.

Ten ranked girls teams, including six in the Lynx Class A, took part. There were eight ranked boys squads, five of which were in Class A including No. 1-ranked (Class 3A) Dallas Center-Grimes.

Individually, the Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 (3A) girls went stride for stride over the new 5K layout at the Ballard Golf and Country Club, while DC-G’s No. 1 Aiden Ramsey was the toast of the boys’ field.

Emma Peck reaches the 2K mark of Monday’s 5K Ballard Invite in Huxley. She led Webster City with a 47th-place finish. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

So, yeah, it was tough. Really tough.

The WCHS boys’ team sat 10th in the Class A field of 12 teams with 279 points, and was 19th out of the 24 when the two classes (A and B) were combined. The WCHS girls’ crew sat at the back of the 11-team Class A group with 305 points and was 21st out of 22 overall.

Turner sees the lack of pack running from both of his teams as the most glaring issue less than one month into the season. The Lynx boys’ scoring five had a gap of more than five minutes, while the girls’ gap sat slightly under three minutes.

“Just looking at our spread, that’s not going to cut it in any race,” Turner said. “We have to get that to two minutes or less if we really want to compete. We have a lot of young guys and gals on the varsity teams right now, so they’re just kind of getting their feet wet. I don’t know if we can do it, but that’s kind of what we’re aiming for in practice. If we want to score well, we really have to pack up and run together rather than run our own races.”

The new course design sent the fields down a 400-meter straightaway, but it quickly bottlenecked into a tight lane through the tall grass. Those that reached the narrowing quickly had a free run through the trees, while those that lagged behind were left to try not to trip over others.

Webster City’s Owen Patterson navigates his way around a tree at Monday’s Ballard Invite in Huxley. He was a scoring runner for WCHS. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

And too many times, WCHS found itself toward the back.

Jose Ramirez, the Lynx senior leader, sprinted toward the front over the initial 400 meters. The downside was it cost him in the later stages of the race.

“The course made him go out a little faster than he would have liked,” Turner said. “But this was a good experience for him and he learned a little bit about himself to pick and choose who to run with. His time might not reflect it, but I do think it was a pretty good race for him.”

Ramirez crossed the finish line in 18:35.0 to place 20th out of the 80 runners in Class A. Cole Reiling, who was also forced to run by himself, came across 50 seconds after his teammate to place 39th in 19:25.0.

Aiden Rahe (21:10.3) was back in 67th, Owen Patterson (22:43.9) took 75th and Gabe Rollins (23:57.0) came across in 78th.

Webster City’s Jacie Crutcher lets out a breath as she travels down the course at Monday’s Ballard Invite in Huxley. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

The course proved to be a challenge for all seven of the WCHS girls in the varsity race, as Emma Peck was again the top finisher in 47th with a clocking of 24:48.6, which left her in a foul mood, Turner said.

“She was frustrated with herself because she knows she can do better than that,” Turner said. “I think she can easily break 22 minutes this year with the right race, so there’s frustration but also motivation.

“All of our girls are a little frustrated with their times right now. But even though our times and scoring aren’t the best right now, I think we’re really going to pull together these next couple of meets.”

Jacie Crutcher (26:14.3) and Karina Murray (26:52.6) placed 65th and 69th, respectively. Allison Oswald (27:28.4, 71st) and Carly Appel (27:39.1, 73rd) rounded out the team scoring.

There were 79 girls in the Class A field.

WCHS freshman Aiden Rollins (right) sticks close to a Madrid runner as they make their way toward the midpoint of Monday’s Ballard Invite in Huxley. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Dallas Center-Grimes swept the Class A team titles. The No. 1 boys’ team tallied 23 points to easily outdistance fourth-ranked and runner-up Pella (89). The No. 2-ranked Fillies compiled 46 points, nine better than runner-up and 18th-ranked (4A) Indianola (55).

Ballard’s Paityn Noe and Carlisle’s Ainsley Erzen, the Nos. 1 and 2 individuals in the state, went head-to-head and won their respective classes. Noe surged ahead over the final mile to take the overall crown and Class B gold medal in 19:33.2, while Erzen settled for the Class A title in 20:16.3.

Ramsey, DC-G’s ace, owned the boys’ Class A title in 16:02.0.

Ballard Invite

Monday at Huxley


Team Standings (Class A)

1. Dallas Center-Grimes 46; 2. Indianola 55; 3. Carlisle 88; 4. Pella 115; 5. Winterset 141; 6. ADM 146; 7. Bondurant-Farrar 188; 8. Humboldt 238; 9. Creston 256; 10. Boone 268; 11. Webster City 305.

Individual Winner — Ainsley Erzen, Carlisle, 20:16.3.

Webster City Results

47. Emma Peck 24:48.6; 65. Jacie Crutcher 26:14.3; 69. Karina Murray 26:52.6; 71. Allison Oswald 27:28.4; 73. Carly Appel 27:39.1; 77. Adalie Peterson 32:31.4; 78. Aryana Toftee 36:40.6.


Team Standings (Class A)

1. Dallas Center-Grimes 23; 2. Pella 89; 3. ADM 92; 4. Carlisle 116; 5. Indianola 123; 6. Winterset 139; 7. Gilbert 161; 8. Bondurant-Farrar 259; 9. Humboldt 273; 10. Webster City 279; 11. Boone 291; 12. Creston 349.

Individual Winner — Aidan Ramsey, DC-Grimes, 16:02.0.

Webster City Results

20. Jose Ramirez 18:35.0; 39. Cole Reiling 19:25.0; 67. Aiden Rahe 21:10.3; 75. Owen Patterson 22:43.9; 78. Gabe Rollins 23:57.0; 79. Sam Moberly 23:57.8; 80. Aiden Rollins 24:56.6.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $3.46/week.

Subscribe Today