FORT DODGE — Center Point-Urbana girls cross country’s fourth consecutive trip to State saw the team finish 10th in Class 3A and junior Emma Wilkerson cap off her season with an All-State performance at the 2022 State Cross Country Meet in Fort Dodge on Saturday.
“They’re a talented group of kids,” co-coach Jef Engen said. “They know what it takes to get to their goals and they keep working towards them.”
Wilkerson finished 14th with a time of 19:35 to led the Stormin’ Pointers, followed by freshman Lily Miller 28th with a time of 20:14, freshman Deni Katcher 41st with a time of 20:27, sophomore Syndey McCormick 107th with a time of 21:42 and sophomore Julia Paine 127th with a time of 22:30, senior Sophia Gentz 134th with a time of 24:28 and sophomore Madison Bockenstedt 135th with a time of 26:00.
“They ran smart, not getting caught up in the noise at the front,” Engen said. “And they are capable of doing even better. We need to work on getting more kids out next season, come back next year ready to leave everything out here.”
The top 15 are recognized as All-State in cross country, including Wilkerson at 14th. She placed 56th last season as a sophomore and made the jump this season after watching Kora Katcher finish in the top 15 individually.
“I knew I wanted to get up there and knew all the hard work Kora put in last season,” Wilkerson said. “I wanted to put in that same work and get up on that deck with a spot in the top 15. It was competitive against some of the top girls in the state, but I love that competition.”
Six of the seven varsity runners will return next season looking to extend CPU’s state team qualifying streak to five years. Engen believed if work is put in during the offseason, that goal and “much more” is attainable.
“Emma is only going to get stronger next season if she continues to work hard,” Engen said. “I talked to Deni and she told me she learned a lot being here. Both her and Lily will come back with experience and be even stronger next season. It’s going to be great.”