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Gilbert nips NV boys; Panther girls fifth at Ballard

HUXLEY — Gilbert edged Nodaway Valley in a showdown of top-ranked boys teams and the Creston girls improved on last year’s performance by one place in taking fourth at the 37th Ballard Cross Country Invitational Monday night.

Gilbert, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, scored 52 points to edge Class 1A top-ranked Nodaway Valley with 58 points.

Class B winner Rees Tyler, son of Creston native Skip Tyler, led the Tigers in a time of 16:34. Nodaway Valley’s top finisher was Brycen Wallace, fifth in 17:22. Other Wolverine medal winners in the top 17 were Tyler Breheny, seventh in 17:25; Joshua Baudler, eighth in 17:27; and Skyler Rawlings, 17th in 18:08.

Nodaway Valley was the smallest school in the meet and one of only three Class 1A schools. The Wolverines also would have finished runner-up in the Class A division to Class 3A second-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes, based on times.

Gilbert and Nodaway Valley boys topped Class 3A 12th-ranked Humboldt and Class 2A eighth-ranked Roland-Story. Taking sixth was Class 2A sixth-ranked Garner-Hayfield-Ventura.

Panthers improve

Creston girls improved from a fifth-place finish a year ago to finish only behind three state-ranked teams on Monday. The Panthers were fourth with 124 points, led by medalists Brielle Baker 11th in 21:45 and Braelyn Baker 15th in 22:07. Morgan Buxton was 31st in 23:31.

Fifth-ranked Humboldt won the meet with 40 points. Ninth-ranked North Polk was close behind with 45 points and No. 13-ranked Gilbert was third at 69.

“We didn’t run our best,” Creston coach Pat Schlapia said. “Last week we had some boys missing practice with illness, and now I think it may be passing over to the girls. Our lone senior with us tonight, Sophia Groumoutis, wasn’t feeling well and we had two girls — senior Danielle Castillo and sophomore Sydney Hartsock — who were not with us today.”

Freshman Morgan Buxton had her best outing early in her career by being Creston’s third runner in 31st place in 23:31. Freshman Paige Davis and sophomore Brittany Linch were 32nd and 36th, respectively, in 23:32 and 23:54.

“We had some kids not feeling at their best, so it was good to see Morgan, Paige and Brittany step up for us,” Schlapia said.

Ali Christensen and Stephanie Davidson made bids for varsity spots by running 26:28 and 26:31, respectively, in the JV race.

“We have good competition and will probably have some fluctuation from meet to meet on varsity as a result,” Schlapia said.

Clayton Stafford nearly medaled for the Creston boys, taking 19th in 18:12. The team was 12th with 326 points, but second runner Jared Moreland in 20:54 did not have his finish recorded as he stepped on the timer chip on his shoe, resulting in no recorded time.

“That probably cost us about 15 points, so in looking at the scores we would have jumped Woodward-Granger for 11th,” Schlapia said. “It was Clayton Stafford’s birthday, so what better way to celebrate than to run a 5K in a mini-state meet at Ballard. There was not a weak link in the 24 schools there in two classes. There were 700 runners in the high school races and probably more than 1,000 when you count the middle school runners.”

Nodaway Valley girls placed 10th with 258 points, led by sophomore Mallory Kuhns in 27th in a time of 23:17.


Varsity team scores — 1. Gilbert 52; 2. Nodaway Valley 58; 3. Humboldt 99; 4. Roland-Story 107; 5. Nevada 113; 6. Garner-Hayfield-Ventura 128; 7. North Polk 220; 8. Iowa Falls-AGWSR 230 (based on sixth runner); 9. Eagle Grove 230; 10. South Hardin 237; 11. Woodward-Granger 324; 12. Creston 326.

Individual leaders — 1. Rees Tyler, Gil, 16:34; 2. Malachi Hornbuckle, Nev, 16:47; 3. Ray Cataldo, GHV, 17:02; 4. Reece Smith, GHV, 17:08; 5. Brycen Wallace, NV, 17:22.

Nodaway Valley (58) — 5. Brycen Wallace, 17:22; 7. Tyler Breheny, 17:25; 8. Joshua Baudler, 17:27; 17. Skyler Rawlings, 18:08; 21. Ben Breheny, 18:13; 27. Joel Blazek, 18:44; 51. Jesse Johnson, 19:59.

Creston (326) —19. Clayton Stafford, 18:12; 72. Levi Hitz, 21:22; 74. Hunter Fry, 21:46; 80. Devin Baker, 23:15; 81. Adam McElwain, 23:17; (unofficial) Jared Moreland, 20:54.

Creston JV — 181. Ashton Wills, 23:34; 232. Foster McCutchan, 25:14; 239. Isaac Jacobson, 25:30; 277. Spencer Lane, 27:21; 286. Kaden Briggs, 27:47.


Varsity team scores —1. Humboldt 40; 2. North Polk 45; 3. Gilbert 69; 4. Creston 124; 5. Eagle Grove 152; 6. Iowa Falls-AGWSR 156; 7. Garner-Hayfield-Ventura 212; 8. Roland-Story 213; 9. Nevada 237; 10. Nodaway Valley 258; 11. Woodward-Granger 311.

Individual leaders — 1. Bryce Gidel, Hum, 19:19; 2. Amelia Lesher, NP, 19:58; 3. Aubrie Fisher, IFA, 20:20; 4. Gabby Kent, Hum, 20:31; 5. Maggie Pollard, Gil, 20:46.

Creston (124) —11. Brielle Baker, 21:45; 15. Braelyn Baker, 22:07; 31. Morgan Buxton, 23:31; 32. Paige Davis, 23:32; 36. Brittany Linch, 23:54; 42. Allivea Skarda, 24:11; 64. Sophia Groumoutis, 26:42.

Nodaway Valley (258) — 27. Mallory Kuhns, 23:17; 28. Sophia Broers, 23:25; 66. Caidynce Schwartz, 27:43; 71. Jessica Huff, 28:59; 72. Jaida Claussen, 34:27.

Creston JV — 65. Ali Christensen, 26:28; 67. Stephanie Davidson, 26:31; 94. Angelina Chuong, 27:42; 136. Sydney Pantini, 30:13; 188. Piper Lumbard, 41:43.

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