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Mount Ayr takes top spot at home meet

Nodaway Valley girls field one runner, COVID-19 contact tracing affects Wolverines

Mount Ayr's Makayla Jones runs at the Ron Landphair Invitational Thursday. The senior has been a leader throughout the back half of the season head coach Deb Larsen said.
Mount Ayr's Makayla Jones runs at the Ron Landphair Invitational Thursday. The senior has been a leader throughout the back half of the season head coach Deb Larsen said.

MOUNT AYR – The first day of an October cold front at the Ron Landphair Invitational Tuesday proved to be a kick starter for area runners as teams start to prepare for district meets seven days away.

The Class 1A No. 8 Nodaway Valley boys finished second in as many days. Coming off the first second-place finish at the Pride of Iowa Conference championship in 10 years, the Wolverines scored 65 points Thursday, down one scoring runner, behind Maryville’s 54 points.

Orient-Macksburg’s 10th place finish with 219 points was just ahead of East Union’s 11th place 228-point performance on the boys end.

Host Mount Ayr took home the top spot on the girls side. The Raiderettes came up just short to Nodaway Valley at the Pride of Iowa Conference championship Tuesday. The Wolverines only had one girl Thursday due to COVID-19 and contact tracing quarantines.

Mount Ayr scored 56 points for first place, just ahead of Twin Cedars in second. Southwest Valley took its second fourth-place finish this week, scoring 116 points. East Union rounded out scoring schools, finishing in eighth place with 131 points.

Nodaway Valley

Down freshman scoring runner Malachi Broers, the second-place Wolverines saw familiar faces in the top end.

Class 1A No. 23 Toby Bower (17:32.69) and Class 1A No. 26 Doug Berg (17:35.06) finished back-to-back in fourth and fifth places, respectively.

Nodaway Valley head coach Darrell Burmeister said the ranked duo kept up with Jag Galapin from Maryville – third-place finisher with a time of 17:26.78 – for most of the race before he was able to pull away.

Ben Breheny had another strong finish for the Wolverines, finishing in eighth place with a time of 18:00.21. Gavin Shoemaker (19:34.84) and Jaxon Christensen (20:20.71) rounded out the group in 21st and 33rd places, respectively.

Having only one runner for the girls, Hope Kading finished in 28th place, running a time of 25:09.50.

“Hope did great, she finished 28th out of 64,” Burmeister said. “She finished (in the) top half. Girls probably would have won it if we had the whole team there, and the boys probably would have won it with Malachi there. We weren’t all there, so we got second in the boys.

“It might have been a blessing in some ways,” Burmeister said. “Jaxon Christensen stepped up and finished 33rd. That was his best time of the year and his highest finish. If nothing changes, we’re going to need him next week.”


Orient-Macksburg’s boys saw three personal records, while the lone girl Christa Cass continued to have a solid sophomore season.

Cass took 10th place (22:59.94), behind Mount Ayr’s Karlie Larsen, who finished 17 seconds ahead of Cass.

“She’s been going back-and-forth with a few of those girls. Overall, I felt she ran well,” O-M head coach Grant Bohlke said. “It’s good to get here, then we get to come back in a week. It’s a good experience. They’ve switched up the course a little bit from last year, so it’s nice to have that for her especially. We’re seeing a lot of the teams that we’ll see next Thursday (at district), so we know where we need to be with her.”

On the boys end, Blake Thompson remained as the top scorer for the Bulldogs. He finished in 18th place, running a time of 19:29.37. Tyson Ross took home a 24th-place finish (19:54.40).

Bohlke said Ross has continued to progress this season, proving the work ethic he has is paying off as the season is coming to a close.

Chase Walker (22:11.75), Izzy Pierce (23:08.86) and Chance Kiddoo (23:10.75) rounded out the boys group. Walker took 65th place, Pierce finished in 77th and Kiddoo placed 78th.

“Impressed with our top few guys. Tyson Ross, especially, ran extremely well today,” Bohlke said. “Then, some personal best times with Chase, Chance and Izzy. Those guys ran some of their best times. So overall, a good day I would say.”

East Union

Coming off Tuesday’s POI Conference meet, the Eagles were weary, but pushed through for a strong finish one week before districts.

Gabby Valencia continued to compete well with top area competition. She finished in fifth place, running a time of 22:07.13. Jillian Valencia was the next girl runner, coming in 29th place (25:21.42).

Ansley (26:49.30) and Hayden Waigand (26:52.91) finished back-to-back in 41st and 42nd places, respectively.

Jacob Driskill led the way for the boys. He finished in 20th place, running a time of 19:34.52. Damon Hayes (20:50.12) and DJ Islas (20:59.35) followed suit of the Waigand sisters, also finishing in 41st and 42nd places, respectively.

“I thought the kids ran really well, considering the kids ran conference Tuesday, so it’s a pretty short turnaround,” assistant coach Erik Driskill said. “You could tell they had some tired legs, but I thought they pushed themselves. They’ve given a good effort all year, and they certainly didn’t let up on that today.”

After a long week, the team is set to get their legs rested. Entering the final week of the season before state qualifiers, the message for the group remains simple.

“Have fun, it’s the last week we’re going to be together,” Erik Driskill said. “Enjoy the time, but also work hard and keep trying to push toward the goals that you’re trying to accomplish this season.”

Mount Ayr

Taking a first-place win, the Raiderettes saw three runners within the top-15.

Makayla Jones took seventh place, running a time of 22:31.52, while Karlie Larsen (22:42.22) finished in ninth place. Natalie Schaefer was the 13th-place finisher and third scorer for Mount Ayr with a time of 23:33.96.

Mount Ayr head coach Deb Larsen said Jones has stepped her game up throughout the last week, pushing the rest of the group.

Entering Thursday, the group was excited for a chance to knock off Nodaway Valley after falling just short two days before.

“Tuesday, when we only lost by four at the conference, we know they had a shot at (Nodaway Valley) at our home course, so we were pumped up and ready for the challenge,” Larsen said. “Then, finding out about (Nodaway Valley’s girls quarantine), I just said, ‘go out and see what you can do and get.’ Just challenged them to keep working and run in a pack and see what we can do.

“It was exciting. I’m glad we won after the disappointment of Tuesday, so it was good,” Larsen said.

The Raider boys didn’t field a scoring team, having four runners at the home meet.

Will Newton took 17th place (19:26.54), and Briar Knapp took home 35th place with a time of 20:23.04 to account for Mount Ayr’s top-two finishers.


Diagonal ran three boys at Thursday’s meet, seeing a middle-of-the-pack finish from Carter Lumbard.

He finished in 45th place, running a time of 21:07.09. Alex Baker (22:19.69.86) took 71st place, and Garrett Stephens (23:44.15) finished in 86th place.


Lenox’s McKinna Hogan continued the push to a state berth, finishing in the top-five again this season.

Hogan took home a fourth-place finish, running a time of 22:04.52 to lead the girls group. Trinity Shimer ran a 25:45.23 for 42nd place and MaKynna England finished in 64th (50:11.01).

Mizael Gomez was the lone boy for the Tigers, running a time of 21:00.14 for 42nd.

Southwest Valley

The Timberwolves saw a group finish for the top end of the girls.

Aubrey Boswell (23:44.17) took 17th place, while Halle Pearson (23:44.17) finished in 19th place. Sydney Davies rounded out the top-three runners for Southwest Valley. She ran a time of 24:40.05 for 25th place.

Blake Venteicher (21:38.06) finished in 57th place to lead the boys. Ethan James time of 25:31.76 put him in 98th place, and Deacon Ganfield ran a time of 27:08.74 for 101st place.


1. Mount Ayr 56; 2. Twin Cedars; 3. CAM 100; 4. Southwest Valley 116; 5. Wayne 125; 6. Central Decatur 126; 7. Grandview Christian 128; 8. East Union 131.


Leaders —1. Rylee Dunkin, Twin Cedars, 20:28.28; 2. J’lyn Knutson, Melcher-Dallas, 21:10.35; 3. Iris Alvarez, Savannah, 21:26.19; 4. McKinna Hogan, Lenox, 22:04.52; 5. Gabby Valencia, East Union, 22:07.13; 6. Aniston Jones, Central Decatur, 22:21.39; 7. Makayla Jones, Mount Ayr, 22:31.52; 8. Katie Donaldson, Clarke, 22:38.28; 9. Karlie Larsen, Mount Ayr, 22:42.22; 10. Christa Cass, Orient-Macksburg, 22:59.94.

Mount Ayr – 7. Makayla Jones, 22:31.52; 9. Karlie Larsen, 22:42.22; 13. Natalie Schaefer, 23:33.96; 24. MaKenna Jones, 24:30.29; 30. Lauren Triggs, 25:23.60; 36. Taylor Clymer, 26:08.72; 44. Alexa Smith, 27:22.95; 51. Andrea Sickles, 29:08.00; 52. Ashytyn Werner, 29:33.17; 58. Madison Shields, 32:45.09.

Southwest Valley – 17. Aubrey Boswell, 23:44.17; 19. Halle Pearson, 23:55.26; 25. Sydney Davies, 24:40.05; 40. Sydney Westlake, 26:39.49; 56. Seirra Pearson, 30:33.29.

East Union – 5. Gabby Valencia, 22:07.13; 29. Jillian Valencia, 25:21.42; 41. Ansley Waigand, 26:49.30; 42. Hayden Waigand, 26:52.91; 59. Abbie Wuebker, 34:40.11.

Lenox – 4. McKinna Hogan, 22:04.52; 35. Trinity Shimer, 25:45.23; 64. MaKynna England, 50:11.01.

Orient-Macksburg – 10. Christa Cass, 2:59.94.

Nodaway Valley – 28. Hope Kading, 25:09.50.


1. Maryville 54; 2. Nodaway Valley 65; 3. Grandview Christian 102; 4. Southeast Warren 130; 5. Wayne 148; 6. Ankeny Christian Academy 163; 7. CAM 171; 8. Central Decatur 173; 9. Clarke 217; 10. Orient-Macksburg 219; 11. East Union 228; 12. Martensdale-St Marys 340.


Leaders — 1. Randy Jimenez, Southeast Warren, 16:34.01; 2. Garrett Dumke, Maryville, 16:40.77; 3. Jag Galapin, Maryville, 17:26.78; 4. Toby Bower, Nodaway Valley, 17:35.06; 5. Doug Berg, Nodaway Valley, 17:35.06; 6. Cale Sterling, Maryville, 17:53.70; 7. Ronan Jimenez, Southeast Warren, 17:55.61; 8. Ben Breheny, Nodaway Valley, 18:00.18; 9. Connor Blackford, Maryville, 18:02.68; 10. RC Hicks, Wayne, 18:07.92.

Nodaway Valley – 4. Toby Bower, 17:32.69; 5. Doug Berg, 17:35.06; 8. Ben Breheny, 18:00.18; 21. Gavin Shoemaker, 19:34.84; 33. Jaxon Christensen, 20:20.71.

Orient-Macksburg – 18. Blake Thompson, 19:29.37; 24. Tyson Ross, 19:54.40; 65. Chase Walker, 22:11.75; 77. Izzy Pierce, 23:08.86; 78. Chance Kiddoo, 23:10.75.

East Union – 20. Jacob Driskill, 19:34.52; 40. Damon Hayes, 20:50.12; 41. DJ Islas, 20:59.35; 87. Derek Albretchsen, 23:55.58; 94. Peyton Long, 24:54.98; 100. Hunter Swanson, 27:00.69; 102. Blake Wuebker, 27:12.21.

Southwest Valley – 57. Blake Venteicher, 21:38.06; 98. Ethan James, 25:31.76; 101. Deacon Ganfield, 27:08.74.

Mount Ayr – 17. Will Newton, 19:26.54; 35. Briar Knapp, 20:23.04; 83 Jarrett Webb, 23:33.16; 99. Ashtyn Benesh, 26:27.38.

Diagonal – 45. Carter Lumbard, 21:07.09; 71. Alex Baker, 22:19.69; 86. Garrett Stephens, 23:44.15.

Lenox – 42. Mizael Gomez, 21:00.14.

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