BEDFORD – A competitive meet on a 70 degree October evening, the Pride of Iowa Conference Championship crowned a new team champion on the boys end for the first time in 10 years, while the reigning girls team champion retained their title.
The Class 2A No. 9 Central Decatur boys knocked off reigning Pride of Iowa champion, and winner since 2009, Class 1A No. 10 Nodaway Valley.
The Cardinals scored 38 points to the Wolverines’ 48. East Union was the only other area school to score as a team, coming in sixth place with 141 points.
Nodaway Valley’s girls secured the top spot as a team. The win marks the 33rd conference championship since 1997, tallying No. 14 for the girls in that stretch.
The Wolverines finished with 46 points, four ahead of Mount Ayr’s 50 team points, and 12 ahead of Central Decatur in third place. Southwest Valley came in fourth place with 89 points, and East Union rounded out scoring teams in sixth place, scoring 93 points.
On the boys side, it was a disappointing finish for the Wolverines as they fell short for the first time in 10 years.
The top three Wolverine boys finished in the top-10, but mid to late-teen finishes from the fourth and fifth runners hurt as Central Decatur put all five scoring runners within the top-11.
“We thought we would do a little better in our placings with the boys, but just have to go with it,” Nodaway Valley head coach Darrell Burmeister said. “This isn’t the biggest meet, even though we do want to win conference.”
Class 1A No. 23 Toby Bower finished in third place with a time of 17:06.66. He finished behind Central Decatur’s Class 2A No. 4 Will Gillis in second (16:49.16) and Southeast Warren’s Class 1A No. 4 Randy Jimenez in first (16:05.51). All three were state-qualifiers in 2019.
Jimenez, Gillis and Bower started out the race with an early lead, all near each other. As the race progressed, Jimenez extended his lead on Gillis and Bower. Gillis started to separate himself from Bower with around one mile left.
Class 1A No. 26 Doug Berg continued a successful campaign as an underclassmen, finishing in fifth place (17:12.33). Ben Breheny was the No. 3 runner for the Wolverines, finishing in eighth place with a time of 17:35.38. Malachi Broers (19:07.62) and Gavin Shoemaker (19:21.15) finished near each other, taking 15th and 18th places, respectively.
“You feel sorry for [the] two seniors. They helped the other upperclassmen throughout their career win conference titles,” Burmeister said. “Just weren’t able to return the favor to them when they were seniors, but we had a lot of new kids out this year. When you graduate as many all-state runners as we have, it’s not that easy to reload every year.”
Nodaway Valley’s lead girl, Class 1A No. 16 Sophia Broers finished in first place, running a time of 20:53.21. Broers finished ahead of Lenox’s McKinna Hogan in second (21:36.28).
“Sophia, back-to-back individual titles, super hard worker, that was great,” Burmeister said.
Broers took an early lead, ahead of Hogan and East Union’s Gabby Valencia. She continued to build as the race went on, finding separation late in the course.
Lily Day was the next girl to score for Nodaway Valley, fighting with Valencia for third place. Day eventually passed Valencia late in the race, finishing in third place with a time of 21:42.87. At last season’s conference meet, Day finished in fourth, moving up one place this year. Valencia ended her day in fourth place (21:47.73).
Without Abby Engles running Tuesday, Annika Nelson (23:22.72), Erin Ford (23:57.79; 20) and Hope Kading ( 24:25.95) finished close to each, ending in 13th, 17th and 20th places, respectively.
“I think that was a great thing for our girls to win without Abby,” Burmeister said. “Abby will be with us again starting Monday, so we will have Abby again for our state-qualifying meet.”
Second place Raiderettes
The Raiderette girls placed a strong showing with a second place finish.
Karlie Larsen continued to be the top scorer for Mount Ayr, finishing in sixth place (22:22.79), less than one second ahead of seventh-place and teammate Makayla Jones (22:23.35). Natalie Schaefer rounded out the top three with an 11th place finish, running a time of 23:19.55.
Lauren Triggs finished in 21st place (24:27.20), and Taylor Clymer took home 25th place, running a 25:50.82.
Mount Ayr’s boys did not field a scoring team, but saw a 16th-place finish from Will Newton (19:09.69).
Briar Knapp took home 26th place (20:43.8), and Jarrett Webb finished in 46th place with at time of 23:32.28.
Southwest Valley keeps building
The Timberwolve girls found themselves with three medalists. Combining both sides, the team set four new personal records .
Aubrey Boswell continued to lead the girls, finishing in 12th place. Her 23:21.02 was a personal record. Sydney Davies (23:36.96) and Halle Pearson (23:54.73) finished as a group, taking 15th and 16th places, respectively.
“We’re senior-heavy. Our top four girls are seniors and our No. 1 boy is a senior,” Southwest Valley head coach Jason Hults said. “They’re running well, they’re running strong and they’re healthy right now, so that’s all we can ask for going into that last week.
For the boys, Blake Venteicher was the top for the Timberwolves. He took 30th place, running a time of 21:05.86. Ethan James and Deacon Ganfield set personal records as a freshman duo for Southwest Valley.
James’ 53rd place finish saw a time of 25:12.19, while Ganfield finished in 56th place with a time of 27:51.59.
“We’re a week and a half away from districts now, so we’ll wait and see where we run,” Hults said. “As long as we’re running our best times, that’s all we can ask for.”
Eagles finish sixth
East Union’s Valencia continued to lead the way with her fourth-place finish and battle with Hogan and Day.
Jillian Valencia was the next Eagle girl to finish, coming in 18th place with a time of 24:07.61. Ansley (26:23.29) and Hayden Waigand (26:27.50) finished as a group, taking 27th and 28th places, respectively. Abbie Wuebker (34.27.71) and Jaden Froit (38:52.33) finished in 41st and 42nd places, respectively to round out the group.
Jacob Driskill, Damon Hayes and DJ Islas finished as a group in the middle of the pack. Driskill (19:59.11) took 24th, Hayes (20:21.04) finished in 25th and Islas (20:51.70) took 28th place.
Tigers back on track
After being out a week due to COVID implication on the team, Lenox’s small team saw strong performances despite the recent issues.
“With the circumstances, we didn’t run last week, so I was a little nervous. (Hogan) was a little nervous,” Lenox head coach Curtis Fisher said. “We didn’t know how it was going to play.”
Hogan’s second-place finish highlighted the day for the Tigers, getting back to form after not being able to practice as a team.
“I thought the first half of the race, first mile and a half, she got out like normal, was good,” Fisher said. “There on the back stretch, we thought she was going to fade a little bit, just endurance and tired legs. The two girls right there, Gabby (Valencia) and Lily (Day) put up a heck of a fight with her.”
Trinity Shimer (26:11.50) finished in 26th place, and MaKynna England (48:43.26) rounded out the three girls for Lenox. Mizael Gomez, running as the only boy for Lenox, took home 29th place, running a time of 20:52.57.
GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1. Nodaway Valley 46; 2. Mount Ayr 50; 3. Central Decatur 58; 4. Southwest Valley 89; 5. East Union 93.
Leaders —1. Sophia Broers, Nodaway Valley, 20:53.21; 2. McKinna Hogan, Lenox, 21:36.28; 3. Lily Day, Nodaway Valley, 21:42.87; 4. Gabby Valencia, East Union, 21:47.73; 5. Hadley Bell, Central Decatur, 22:08.39; 6. Karlie Larsen, Mount Ayr, 22:22.79; 7. Makayla Jones, Mount Ayr, 22:23.35; 8. Harrisen Bevan, Central Decatur, 22:25.43; 9. Aniston Jones, Central Decatur, 22:28.01; 10. Hagan Arnold, Wayne, 22:56.55.
Nodaway Valley – 1. Sophia Broers, 20:53.21; 3. Lily Day, 21:42.87; 13. Annika Nelson, 23:22.72; 17. Erin Ford, 23:57.79; 20. Hope Kading 24:25.95.
Mount Ayr – 6. Karlie Larsen, 22:22.79; 7. Makayla Jones, 22:23.35; 11. Natalie Schaefer, 23:19.55; 14. Makenna Jones, 23:34.37; 21. Lauren Triggs, 24:27.20; 25. Taylor Clymer, 25:50.82; 35. Ashytyn Werner, 29:58.56; 36. Andrea Sickles, 30:00.88; 40. Madison Shields, 33:23.28.
Southwest Valley – 12. Aubrey Boswell, 23:21.02; 15. Sydney Davies, 23:36.96; 16. Halle Pearson, 23:54.73; 29. Sydney Westlake, 26:36.26; 39. Sierra Pearson, 30:47.81.
East Union – 4. Gabby Valencia, 21:47.73; 18. Jillian Valencia, 24:07.61; 27. Ansley Waigand, 26:23.29; 28. Hayden Waigand, 26:27.50; 41. Abbie Wuebker, 34.27.71; 42. Jaden Froit, 38:52.33.
Lenox – 2. McKinna Hogan, 21:36.28; 26. Trinity Shimer, 26:11.50; 43. MaKynna England, 48:43.26.
BOYS TEAM SCORES
1. Central Decatur 38; 2. Nodaway Valley 48; 3. Southeast Warren 73; 4. Wayne 92; 5. Bedford 134; 6. East Union 141.
Leaders — 1. Randy Jimenez, Southeast Warren, 16:05.51; 2. Will Gillis, Central Decatur, 16:49.16; 3. Toby Bower, Nodaway Valley, 17:05.66; 4. Ronan Jimenez, Southeast Warren, 17:06.73; 5. Doug Berg, Nodaway Valley, 17:12.33; 6. Tyson McDole, Central Decatur, 17:19.91; 7. RC Hicks, Wayne, 17:30.59; 8. Ben Breheny, Nodaway Valley, 17:35.58; 9. Tate Swartz, Central Decatur, 17:57.66; 10. Vincent Carcamo, Central Decatur, 18:21.87.
Nodaway Valley – 3. Toby Bower, 17:05.66; 5. Doug Berg, 17:12.33; 8. Ben Breheny, 17:35.58; 15. Malachi Broers, 19:07.62; 18. Gavin Shoemaker, 19:21.15; 22. Jevin Christensen, 19:32.75
East Union – 24. Jacob Driskill 19:59.11; 25. Damon Hayes, 20:21.04; 28. DJ Islas, 20:51.70; 51. Derek Albretchsen, 24:18.89.
Mount Ayr – 16. Will Newton, 19:09.69; 26. Briar Knapp, 20:43.81; 46. Jarrett Webb, 23:32.28.
Lenox – 29. Mizael Gomez, 20:52.57.
Southwest Valley – 30. Blake Venteicher, 21:05.86; 53. Ethan James, 25:12.19; 56. Deacon Ganfield, 27:51.59.