Goal No. 1: Check
2nd at HOIC, Hawks now set sights on state qualifier
JEWELL — Madison Beaune was a lurker throughout a good portion of Monday’s Heart of Iowa Conference cross country meet at the Jewell Golf and Country Club.
The South Hamilton senior let teammate Anna Lammers set the pace and she simply hung a few meters back as the front pack weaved its way through the crowd of spectators on the front side of the course.
But once the race moved to the back portion of the 5K course, well, Beaune pounced. And her reward was a medal for the first time this season.
Beaune moved past Lammers and into the top eight over the second half of the excursion and then gutted out a tough final mile to finish in the seventh position. The top eight earned spots on the medal podium and were recognized as all-conference performers.
“She was very happy,” South Hamilton head coach Emily Bochmann said of Beaune, who closed in a season’s-best time of 22:21. “She had just missed a medal at a couple meets this season and she wanted that really bad.”
South Hamilton, ranked 17th (Class 1A) in the latest coaches poll, put together another strong pack performance and it was key to vaulting the team into second place in the final standings. The Hawks compiled 62 points, easily outdistancing third-place finisher West Marshall (102), but nowhere close to challenging 15th-ranked (2A) Roland-Story (25) for the team title. The Norsemen went 1-2-3 on the individual leaderboard — Lauryn Kilstofte (20:28) was the gold medalist by 28 seconds — and positioned all five of their scorers in the top 11.
South Hamilton wasn’t greedy though. In fact, it accomplished its goal.
“We were hoping to get second because we all knew that Roland-Story was going to dominate,” Bochmann said. “Knowing that we had gone back and forth with West Marshall this season, we really wanted to get them so we go into (the state qualifying meet) with a good mindset. They know that qualifying for state isn’t a crazy, out there dream this year. They’ve got a good shot if they keep running well and I know that’s been a big goal for our girls team for a long time.”
The team’s outlook looks even more promising when you factor in Paige Doolittle, who sat out the HOIC meet due to a hip injury. Doolittle was the team’s leader early in the season until she began to experience hip pain, but Bochmann says she’s working back into peak form.
“It will be even more exciting when we get Paige back,” Bochmann said. “We decided to be cautious and hold her out (on Monday) to get her fully healed for (the postseason).”
With its unique front trio, South Hamilton did just fine without Doolittle. While the majority of teams have a set leader, the Hawks have the luxury of three dynamic individuals — Madison Beaune, Lammers and Annika Kienzle — that can lead the charge on any given night. On Monday it was Lammers that took it out fast, and she finished ninth in 22:34, just 10 seconds out of an all-conference spot. Kienzle hung close too and she crossed in 10th in 22:37.
“As a coach I love that because it means if one of the girls is feeling great, she can go out and push the pace and the others will go with them,” Bochmann said. “(Monday) it was Anna who got out really strong and I know she played a big role in (Beaune’s medal).
“It’s a little unusual, but with having such close packs, that’s been a huge benefit for us.”
South Hamilton’s remaining two counters — Mercedes Beaune and Val Wagner — snuggled into the top 20 as well. Beaune kept the pedal down as she reached the final homestretch to finish in 18th with a time of 23:40. Wagner ran the final 400 meters by herself as well and occupied the 20th slot in 23:53.
McKenna Miller (25:14, 33rd) and Chandler George (27:48, 53rd) also competed for South Hamilton.
Monday at Jewell
1. Roland-Story 25; 2. South Hamilton 62; 3. West Marshall 102; 4. Nevada 110; 5. PCM 111; 6. Perry 118; 7. Saydel 175.
Individual All-Conference (Top 8)
1. Lauryn Kilstofte (R-S) 20:28; 2. Claire Truesdell (R-S) 20:56; 3. Reece Johnson (R-S) 21:00; 4. Jaylene Karolus (PER) 21:34; 5. Emelia Hauser (WM) 21:58; 6. Paige Steenhoek (PCM) 22:03; 7. Madison Beaune (SH) 22:21; 8. Makena Carlson (R-S) 22:24.
South Hamilton Results
7. Madison Beaune 22:21; 9. Anna Lammers 22:34; 10. Annika Kienzle 22:37; 18. Mercedes Beaune 23:40; 20. Val Wagner 23:53; 33. McKenna Miller 25:14; 53. Chandler George 27:48.