Vikings, Wolves & Spartans compete at AHSTW Invitational
The AHSTW Vikings, IKM-Manning Wolves, and Exira-EHK Spartans had multiple runners compete strong at the Avoca Golf & Country Club Tuesday afternoon including six runners finishing in the top 20 on the girls side and four runners finishing in the top 25 on the boys side.
On the girls side, Freshman Bella Lamp finished sixth overall with a time of 20:05.2, finishing just one minute and 32 seconds behind the leader, freshman Allysen Johnsen from Logan-Magnolia.
Others from AHSTW included Sophomore Ava Paulsen finishing 12th with a time of 20:32, and Senior Riley Knop right behind her in 14th with 20:37.5.
“I think it is a testament to how hard our group works in practice and pushes themselves,” said Viking Head Coach Jackson Renberg. “Bella Lamp, Rylie Knop, and Ava Paulsen run together in practice, and that has really helped us become a much stronger team this year as a group. Bella ran a really strong race yesterday where she was just determined to help her team win the meet. Rylie and Ava did a great job pacing themselves, and getting some girls at the end. I was very impressed with them, and the way they battled down the stretch.”
Renberg credited other girls on the roster who didn’t finish quite as high up as Lamp, Paulsen, and Knop, but still have helped their team to first place victories with their overall finishes.
“The top three were huge, but without Kenna Paulsen, Ella Langer, and Yana Lander we couldn’t win this meet or the meet in Logan,” Renberg said. “We wouldn't be a complete team without those three and their hard work day-in and day-out.”
On the boys side, their numbers may be small with just two runners in Caden Geraghty and Caleb Hatch, but Renberg credited them for their effort level.
“I liked the way they battled, despite not having their best days running,” he said. “It is a tough sport, and sometimes you have good days and bad days, but they pushed themselves hard at the end. I think we have some areas to improve on especially with pacing, but they will get it figured out and improve in the next few weeks.”
For the Spartans, their top runner on the boys side was Sophomore Austin Rasmussen, who took 24th overall, but ran strong with a time of 17:37.6.
“Sophomore year is big for high school boys to get faster and stronger,” said Spartan Head Coach Kevin Brown. “Austin has done that compared to his freshmen year. He is a very intrinsic runner where he wants to improve with little outside influence. Austin is extremely knowledgeable in the sport, and he will continue to learn with each race this season.”
On the girls side, Freshman Michelle Wilson led the pack taking a 15th place finish overall with a time of 20:37.9.
“Michelle has been putting in the work to see the improvements each week,” Brown said. “Her goal is to make it to the 1A state cross country championship in Ft. Dodge. If she continues to put the work in, she has a strong possibility of being on the start line at state.”
The Wolves had multiple runners who competed well with Raegan Garrison finishing 7th overall with 20:06.8. Juniors Taylor Beckendorf and Emily Albertsen both finished in the top 25 as well.
On the boys side, multi-sport athlete Lane Sams led the way finishing 12th overall with a time of 16:55.4.
“I was pleased with both team's effort,” said Wolves Head Coach Robert Cast. “I feel we did a pretty good job attacking the middle of the race today. Today's racing field was very competitive, so it was good to see where we stand right now. Our next couple meets will be very competitive meets. Lane Sams is a very hard worker and races hard as well. He is dual participant in cross country and football.”
The Wolves’ and Spartans’ next event will be Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Panorama High School, where they will be two of 23 teams competing.
“The Panorama meet will be very competitive and will have the feel of a state qualifying meet,” Cast said. “On the boys side there are six 1A rated teams and three ranked 1A girls teams, so this will be great competition for us to help see where we are at this point of the season.”
The Vikings will have some time to rest before their next event Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Tri-Center Invitational, where they will be one of 18 schools competing.
“I really like their course as it is hilly in spots, but a lot of flat areas as well,” Renberg said. “Most importantly, our guys and girls also really like their course as well. I am looking forward to running against some good competition there as well. There is a good mix of schools that will push us to improve, and that’s what we need at this point in the season to get where we want to be at the end of the year.”