Sweltering weather conditions didn’t stop Creston from hosting its annual cross country meet Tuesday at Southwestern Community College and Crestmoor Golf Club.
The Panther varsity teams placed third in the Class A girls division and fifth in Class A boys competition with 77 and 142 points, respectively. Team champions were the Clarinda girls (28-29 over Atlantic) and the Glenwood boys with 22 points.
Actual temperature at the start of the event was 94 degrees with a “feels like” reading of 100 degrees, with 18 mph southwest winds. It was an endurance test for competitors, with four area teams electing not to participate. Creston coach Maggie Arnold said it was a team goal to hold the event as scheduled.
“The running conditions weren’t ideal today, but we wanted to make sure we were able to honor our seniors with a final home meet,” Arnold said. “They came out and competed under hot conditions. We just preached preparation starting the night before and making sure that we were over-hydrated throughout the day.”
Six of the seven varsity Panther girls ran in their final home meet, as well as one JV runner. The boys team Tuesday had two seniors in the lineup.
Seniors led both Panther squads. Emma Pantini was one of five Panthers finishing in the girls top 20, crossing the finish line in 10th place in 25:19.3. Riley Wipperman led the boys in 21st place in 10:12.6.
Returning state qualifier Riley DeGonia, who recently returned to practice after suffering an ankle injury, placed 16th and teammate Tristen Rice was 17th for the Panther girls.
“Emma Pantini looked the best that she’s looked in a couple of weeks for us, and I thought Aileen Villalpando (21st place) cut off time from her previous races as well. Riley hasn’t had much practice yet so she gutted it out today. Our boys team has been solid all year, just very consistent.”
The cross country team will now focus on the football game ball relay run from Knoxville, Friday’s homecoming opponent, to Creston. The team is expected to take the ball as far as Indianola today before camping at Arnold’s family home near St. Charles tonight. The relay will finish in Creston on Thursday.
“We exchange the ball to a different runner every mile until we get it to Creston,” Arnold said. “We’re excited about it.”
Tuesday’s event also included an alumni tent where former Creston runners could gather in the shade to meet with coaches and former Panther competitors. Middle school races and a kids fun run preceded the high school events.
GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1. Clarinda 28; 2. Atlantic 29; 3. Creston 77; 4. Red Oak 129.
Leaders — 1. Mayson Hartley, Clarinda, 20:27.6; 2. Raenna Henke, Clarinda, 20:38.6; 3. Ava Rush, Atlantic, 20:53.9; 4. Claire Pellett, Atlantic, 21:37.8; 5. Maya Hunter, Clarinda, 22:31.5; 6. Belle Berg, Atlantic, 23:07.0; 7. Katrina Williams, Atlantic, 24:10.9; 8. Amelia Hesse, Clarinda, 24:49.5; 9. Faith Altman, Atlantic, 25:14.2; 10. Emma Pantini, Creston, 25.19.3.
Creston — 10. Emma Pantini, 25:19.3; 16. Riley DeGonia, 27:05.0; 17. Tristen Rice, 27:22.0; 18. Sydney Strunk, 27:31.7; 20. Payton Davis, 28:37.6; 21. Aileen Villalpando, 29:05.5; 23. Mallory Wilson, 29:36.3.
Creston JV — 2. Autum Stafford, 30:00.8.
BOYS TEAM SCORES
1. Glenwood 22; 2. Clarinda 63; 3. Atlantic 66; 4. Chariton 93; 5. Creston 142.
Leaders — 1. Bryant Keller, Glenwood, 16:58.0; 2. Treyton Schaapherder, Clarinda, 17:18.0; 3. Andrew Smith, Glenwood, 17:25.6; 4. Kyle Wagoner, Clarinda, 17:39.6; 5. Preston Stayman, Glenwood, 18:21.4; 6. Kevin Coots, Glenwood, 18:26.4; 7. Ilam Hays, Glenwood, 18:31.5; 8. Jackson Griffin, Glenwood, 18:35.6; 9. Alex Sonntag, Atlantic, 18:37.0; 10. Maverick Mixan, Glenwood, 18:53.3.
Creston — 21. Riley Wipperman, 20:12.6; 27. Owen Weis, 20:48.1; 30. Anthony Eblen, 21:45.1; 31. Carson Smith, 21:53.4; 35. Gabe Hopkins, 23:05.8; 36. Christian Ahrens, 23:05.8; 38 Jesh Vallalpando, 23:54.9.
Creston JV — 23. Allen Kendrick 24:31.1