It is one of the more unique events in the cross country schedule that gives the runners a different perspective on the competition.
The Dick Pollitt Go-Hawk Classic was held Tuesday at the Wartburg College Max Cross Country Course, and several area athletes shined in this early-season event against their age-group peers.
Denver won the overall girls’ title, paced by victories by Amber Homan in the freshman race and Chloe Ristau in the sophomore event, while host Waverly-Shell Rock took second in the boys’ competition, with sophomore Andrew Cummer taking the top spot in the sophomore run.
The Cyclone boys were sixth in the overall standings, with Jack Mulert taking gold in the freshman race, and the Go-Hawk girls were ninth in their field, as Emma Hoins took home first place in the junior race. Nashua-Plainfield also scored in 10th place, with sixth- and eighth-place finishes by Chloe Matthews and Aubrey Eick.
The Husky boys along with Clarksville, Tripoli and Janesville participated, but did not factor in the team races.
The Denver girls bested Decorah and Aplington-Parkersburg by one point. The Cyclones had 28 points, while both the Vikings and Falcons had 29, with Decorah having the better tiebreaker with the next best finish. The overall standings are based on the five best places on each of the four grade-level races, with the best possible score being six points — four first places and a second.
Cyclone head coach Sandy Sabelka was excited to see her teams come to Waverly and perform as they did.
“I knew that we’ve started the season off pretty good,” Sabelka said, “but to me, you got to take it with a grain of salt and one meet at a time.
“Our girls, those top three have been doing pretty good, and now to split them up a little bit and see how they run, that’s just a true test to see how they can do. They came out and did it for us today, and the same for the other ones who pulled in there too. They’re pretty strong.”
Homan dominated the ninth-grade division with a time of 20 minutes, 26 seconds, finishing ahead of Decorah’s Rebecca Anderson by 1:19. Classmate Laci Even came home fifth in 23:38. The only girl who finished within a minute of Homan in the freshman-sophomore run was Chloe Ristau, who won the sophomore portion in 21:13.
The other two Denver runners factoring into the scoring were seniors Grace Beck and Leah Ristau, who were fifth in 21:12 and 16th in 23:40, respectively.
W-SR had 68 points, with Hoins taking the juniors in 19:27, while Kyla Foy finished sixth among freshmen in 23:38. Meanwhile, Camryn Grawe was 15th in the senior run in 23:25, Ali Christensen was 21st among the juniors in 24:28, and Makayla Reed rounded out the scoring with a 25th senior-class finish in 24:25.
Go-Hawk girls’ coach Jason Milke thought his team ran well on Tuesday.
“It was a great day for running, and they all went out there and performed their hardest,” Milke said. “They met all of my expectations for the day, and they’ll keep working hard.”
The N-P girls notched 71 points. Matthews came home in 21:51, while Eick recorded a time of 23:08 in the junior race. The Huskies also had a 12th-place performance in the sophomore run from Jennah Carpenter in 23:57, an 18th-place senior finish from Greta Glaser in 23:56, and Ryan Reams took 27th in the freshman grouping in 27:05.
Other area runners were Janesville’s Paige Feldman, seventh in the juniors at 22:42, Molly Stanhope, 50th in the seniors in 27:35, and Haven Martin, 75th in the seniors in 31:13; Tripoli’s Allison Morey, 66th among freshmen in 36:00, and Autumn Piehl, 73rd among seniors in 30:39; Wapsie Valley’s Sydnie Martin, 13th among sophomores in 24:02, Emma Cutsforth, 69th in juniors in 30:21, and Hannah Rulapaugh, 63rd among seniors in 29:42; and Clarksville senior Kori Wedeking, 12th in 22:34.
On the boys’ side, W-SR scored 23 points, seven off of Decorah’s championship tally of 16. Cummer won the sophomore leg with a time of 17:22, while Caden Kueker was third and Caleb Hoins was fifth among freshmen, clocking in at 19:24 and 19:55, respectively. Rounding out the scoring were junior Ethyn Chestnut, sixth in 17:58, and senior Logan McCullough, eighth in 17:56.
W-SR boys’ head coach Kevin Kueker was excited going into the meet, believing his squad was well balanced to score well within each of the four divisions.
“I thought we could do well in this format of a meet,” Keven Kueker said. “Finishing second, I was very proud of how the kids ran.
“I love (this format), as far as early in the season. It gives a chance — our sport is unique where freshmen could compete against seniors — it’s one of those opportunities for them to see how they stack up with kids within their own age.”
The Cyclone boys finished the overall standings in sixth place with a score of 58 points. Mulert took the freshman run in 19:14, while classmate Garrett Even timed in at 20:33 for 11th. Junior Alex Krabbenhoft scored in 14th for the Cyclones with a time of 18:37, and Alex Larson was 16th in the same race with 18:51. Rounding out the scoring was senior Conlee Lyons, who finished in 16th in 18:30.
Area runners not factored into scoring were Nashua-Plainfield’s Kendrick Huck, 28th in freshmen in 22:06, Levi Winters, 58th in freshmen in 24:48, Drew Wilken, 26th in sophomores in 20:20, juniors Derik Downing, 46th in 21:38, Connor Lee, 66th in 22:54, Keegan Ulrichs, 79th in 23:58, and Lucas Pierce, 95th in 30:48, and Noah Foelske, 80th among seniors in 24:49; Tripoli freshmen Giles Cowell, eighth in 20:21, Taeben Wright, 39th in 23:13, Tim Flaig, 50th in 24:04, and Adam Hennings, 85th in 29:23, sophomore Brendan Krogen, 91st in 27:11, and junior Austin Bruns, 85th in 24:53; Wapsie Valley freshman Alex Bryan, 78th in 27:31, sophomore Ronnie Wilcox, 89th in 26:19, juniors Garrett Bram, 49th in 21:57, and Josiah Rulapaugh, 53rd in 22:02, and senior Gavin Hyde, 70th in 22:57; and Clarksville freshman Eric Laures, 63rd in 25:21, sophomores Cade Ison, 21st in 20:12, and Caleb Foster, 94th in 27:59, and seniors Cade Hardy, 31st in 20:21, and Preston Armstrong, 49th in 21:36.