September 19, 2021

Southwestern edged in home meet

Although Graceland University’s team turned the tables on a loss to his Southwestern Spartans a week earlier, coach Scott Vicker called the inaugural Crest Cross Country Festival a success Saturday.

Graceland men won the collegiate team competition against the Spartans, 25-32, to avenge a five-point loss Sept. 4 at Simpson College’s meet. Dillon Grover of the Yellow Jackets took first place in 16:26.70 on the same 5K course as the high school runners competed on Saturday, rather than the usual 8K collegiate race distance.

Spartan sophomore Josh Baudler was second in 17:02.21 and teammate York Miles claimed third in 17:18.83.

“One of the things that helped us against them at Indianola was that we had a lot of guys moving past Graceland runners in the last kilometer of the race, which we didn’t have today on the shorter course,” Vicker said. “The times may not look great, but the way we approach our training, we aren’t supposed to be racing fast right now. I’m happy with that time for Josh. I’m really happy with York’s race. I thought he did a good job of coming back and getting those two Graceland guys. And, Jon (McCall, sixth place) ran really well again.”

Preceding the 10:30 a.m. men’s collegiate competition, a middle school race began the event at 8:35 a.m., followed by high school girls and high school boys with Creston, East Union and Interstate 35 competing.

The I-35 boys topped Creston 19-38 to win the boys team competition, with East Union having an incomplete team. Ben Reyes of the Roadrunners took first place in 18:42.58, followed by Jacob Driskell of East Union (19:27.21) and Creston’s Riley Wipperman (20:32.01).

Creston had the only complete team in the girls race, and had the individual winner in junior Riley DeGonia in a time of 22:28.99. East Union’s Jillian Valencia took fourth in 24:12.57.

The top 10 runners in each division of the race received a commemorative Crest Cross Country Festival T-shirt. Vicker plans on that to be a regular feature of the event, with the shirts adorned with a railroad theme in the festival logo. He hopes the event grows over time.

“I thought it went well and people enjoyed it,” Vicker said. “The crowd was really good for having just three high school teams and two college teams. Hopefully we can get more teams here in the future and make it a bigger event.

Creston coach Maggie Arnold said the event provided a good hometown tuneup for Monday’s big Ballard meet in Huxley. Participants not normally in the hunt for top awards found themselves battling for high placings in the relatively small field.

“Today we weren’t as concerned about times,” Arnold said, “so the main goal was to compete and win awards. Rylie (DeGonia) ran her fastest mile ever in practice yesterday, so we were hoping it would carry into today’s meet. That was a nice win for her. Payton Davis and Zoey Ralston have made a good pack pushing each other on the course.”

In the middle school two-mile race, Owen Weis of Creston was the winner in 13:23.

East Union’s sophomore duo of Driskell in second place for the boys and Valencia fourth in the girls race impressed Eagles coach Rich Bryson.

“The experience those two gained last year, going from two miles in junior high to 3.1 miles in high school, is starting to pay off a little bit now that they have more confidence in their own particular style of running,” Bryson said.

College men

Team scoring — 1. Graceland University 25; 2. Southwestern Community College 32.

Top 10 — 1. Dillon Grover, Graceland, 16:26.70; 2. Josh Baudler, SWCC, 17:02.21; 3. York Miles, SWCC, 17:18.83; 4. Logan Harder, Graceland, 17:32.67; 5. James Estey, Graceland, 17:35.97; 6. Jon McCall, SWCC, 17:44.56; 7. Andrew Colyer, Graceland, 17:48.43; 8. Zachary Grover, Graceland, 18:20.19; 9. Kade Jensen, Graceland, 18:33.96; 10. Robert Norton, SWCC, 18:44.73.

High school girls

Team scoring — 1. Creston 15; Interstate 35 and East Union incomplete teams.

Top 10 — 1. Riley DeGonia, Creston, 22:28.99; 2. Abbi Goering, I-35, 22:52.25; 3. Olivia Phillips, I-35, 23:53.10; 4. Jillian Valencia, EU, 24:12.57; 5. Payton Davis, Creston, 24:32.78; 6. Zoe Ralston, Creston, 24:57.78; 7. Amber DeGonia, Creston, 25:18.61; 8. Lauren Bussanmas, I-35, 25:29.00; 9. Autumn Stafford, Creston, 25:44.47; 10. Sydney Strunk, Creston, 25:46.83.

High school boys

Team scoring — 1. Interstate 35 19; 2. Creston 38; East Union incomplete team.

Top 10 — 1. Ben Reyes, I-35, 18:42.58; 2. Jacob Driskell, EU, 19:27.21; 3. Riley Wipperman, Creston, 20:32.01; 4. Austin Vander Werf, I-35, 20:43.69; 5. Owen Festler, I-35, 20:58.05; 6. Carson Allen, I-35, 21:03.43; 7. Sam Upp, I-35, 21:12.12; 8. Triston Barncastle, Creston, 21:24.44; 9. Tyson Smith, Creston, 21:26.97; 10. Michael Upp, I-35, 21:44.22.

Larry Peterson


Former senior feature writer at Creston News Advertiser and columnist. Previous positions include sports editor for many years and assistant editor. Also a middle school basketball coach in Creston.