PELLA – The Nevada girls’ cross country team pushed one runner through to state at the Class 3A state qualifying meet in Pella Oct. 24.
Sophomore Caitlin Dewell became the first Cub girl to qualify since Stephanie Markey made it in 2009, placing 10th at the state qualifying meet. Dewell’s 4-kilometer time of 16 minutes, 16.40 seconds was good enough to earn the final individual qualifying spot at Pella.
Dewell defeated Pella’s Sydney Swanson by over six seconds for the final qualifying spot at the meet.
“I thought Caitlin ran a very smart race,” Nevada head coach Mike Christiansen said. “With the field that we had you had to be aggressive early, get your position and then hang on. Caitlin did just that.”
Pella’s Tess Roorda won the girls’ race in 15:06.87. Roorda’s teammate Payton Phelps was third in 15.42.74, Oskaloosa’s Sienna DeJong took second in 15:19.62 and Grinnell’s Sarah Frishmeyer and Christa Follette took fourth and fifth respectively.
Fairfield’s Taylor Ferrel came in sixth, Fort Madison’s Kaylee Alvarez placed seventh and Williamsburg’s Shannon Mullnix and Carly Schlabaugh wound up eighth and ninth respectively to round out the rest of the top 10.
As a team Nevada finished seventh out of 12 teams with 190 points. Pella won with 56 points, Williamsburg was right behind with 57 points and Grinnell scored 78 points to take third as the final team to qualify for state.
“The rest of the team seemed to hold back and try to move in the second half of the race,” Christiansen said. “But this field was just too strong to be able to make up a lot of ground.”
Emily Dittmer turned in the second-fastest Cub time at 17:03.54 as she placed 28th. Elli Cassabaum came in 40th at 17:41.49, Madison Merfeld was 49th in 18:03.60 and Caroline Goecke placed 63rd in 19:06.63 as the other runners to pick up points for Nevada.
In the boys’ race Nevada was unable to keep up with the strong field at Pella. The Cubs finished eighth out of 13 teams with 201 points.
Pella – the No. 3 team in 3A – won with 46 points and No. 8 Grinnell took second with 62 points. Williamsburg was the final boys’ team to qualify from Pella as the Raiders placed third with 97 points.
Lucas Markey ran the best 5-kilometer time for the Cub boys as he crossed the finish line in 17:55.80 to place 27th in the final race of his career.
Evan Rix closed out his career with a 37th-place time of 18:19.85. Zach Hansen was right behind Rix with a time of 18:20.74 to place 39th.
Johordan Ritter and Duncan Westphal were the other runners to pick up points for Nevada as Ritter took 41st in 18:28.38 and Westphal came in 57th with a 19:21.44 showing.
Oskaloosa’s Skylar and Spencer DeJong took first and second individually at Pella with respective times of 16:23.26 and 16:31.27. Grinnell’s Mason Doty and Pella’s Ben Warner also run sub 17-minute times of 16:38.81 and 16:59.87 to place third and fourth respectively.
Williamsburg’s Cullen Turner took fifth in 17:01.61, Fort Madison’s Nick Guzman came in sixth at 17:05.60 and Grinnell’s Isaac McFee took seventh in 17:06.14. Pella’s Sawyer Burton and Adam Sievers ended up eighth and ninth with respective times of 17:10.93 and 17:14.52 and Bondurant-Farrar’s Nick Swift rounded out the individual state qualifiers with a 10th-place time of 17:19.33.
The state coed cross country meet will take place this Saturday at the Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge. The meet will begin with the 4A girls at 11 a.m. and 3A girls’ competition starts at noon.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Pella 56 points, 2. Williamsburg 57, 3. Grinnell 78, 4. Oskaloosa 102, 5. Fairfield 152, 6. Fort Madison 163, 7. Nevada 190, 8. Bondurant-Farrar 229, 9. Carlisle 237, 10. Centerville 270, 11. Knoxville 287, 12. Chariton 356.
Boys: 1. Pella 46, 2. Grinnell 62, 3. Williamsburg 97, 4. Oskaloosa 103, 5. Fort Madison 130, 6. Knoxville 146, 7. Carlisle 180, 8. Nevada 201, 9. Bondurant-Farrar 247, 10. Fairfield 309, 11. Chariton 354, 12. Centerville 357, 13. Keokuk 387.
Girls (4-kilometer): 10. Caitlin Dewell, 16:16.40; 28. Emily Dittmer, 17:03.54; 40. Elli Cassabaum, 17:41.49; 49. Madison Merfeld, 18:03.60; 63. Caroline Goecke, 19:06.63; 69. Erin Sellberg, 19:44.89; 70. Emily Haywood, 19:45.17.
Boys (5-kilometer): 27. Lucas Markey, 17:55.80; 37. Evan Rix, 18:19.85; 39. Zach Hansen, 18:20.74; 41. Johordan Ritter, 18:28.38; 57. Duncan Westphal, 19:21.44; 59. Caden Trygstad, 19:33.41; 67. Josef Lovin, 20:07.56.