Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD — Waterworks Park saw 196 boys and 142 girls race cross-country Thursday. Yet in each race the distance between first and second wasn’t close.
Lance Sobaski of Washington was the boys winner with a phenomenal kick to finish in 16 minutes, 34 seconds, 10 seconds ahead of second. Mt. Pleasant’s Abby Blint was second in 21:04 with the winning time 20:47 by Haidyn Barker from Clear Creek-Amana. Blint may have been closer to first but, “the whole second lap was one shoe untied. It was definitely distracting because I try to push off in the woods, and I just didn’t want it to fall off.”
Danville-New London won the boys team title by 39 points, placing. Clear Creek-Amana won the girls by a mere four points over Washington, which joined the boys team in the coaches Class 3A rankings Tuesday. It is the first time both Demon teams were ranked.
Demon coach Stephanie Haworth said the girls team strength is pack running. The pack was separated for a while but came together and finished strong, with places No. 7, 14, 16, 19, 20, 24, 29. Quincy Griffis was the first Demon finisher in 21:43, a minute ahead of teammate Isabella Lujan. Five more Demons finished within 50 seconds of Lujan.
“We like to run as a team, but we have to go our own pace,” Griffis said. “We were surprised to be ranked, but it feels really good. We have a team goal to win the conference.”
Sobaski was the conference champion last year and entered the race ranked fifth in 3A with teammate Micah Rees ranked for the first time at No. 29. Rees finished fifth and mirrored Sobaski’s strong kick.
“I was changing places with the Danville kids every 20 meters and that definitely helped my time,” Rees said. “The ranking caused me to feel a lot of pressure before the race. It definitely drives up the nerves before the race.”
Sobaski attributed his blazing finish to “showing off. My dad (Don Sobaski) has taught me to expect nothing more than your best and accept nothing less. If I have anything left, I am going to leave it out there.”
Danville-New London’s No. 1-ranked (2A) Ty Carr was third, Rylan Martin fourth, No. 3-ranked Alexander Julian sixth, Seth Bailey eighth and 13th-ranked AJ Bonneson 12th.
“Back in the woods there are a lot of ups and downs and curves,” Carr said. "I think we had five in front of every team’s second runner, other than Washington.“
"The guy I beat at the end beat me last time,“ Martin said. ”That’s my favorite part — the end-of-race kick. I took off, and I felt good the whole way. This is fun and all, but Oct. 31 — that’s our day.”
Pekin’s Zack Wise was ninth. “I love running against Danville-New London and show them that small-school Pekin still is here. I have never run against Mt. Pleasant or Burlington. Nobody from those schools finished ahead of me.”
The Pekin girls were third behind the ranked Laurens’ finishes. Sophomore Steigleder (No. 15 1A) was fifth and senior Derscheid (24) 12th.
“It was not my best performance, but it’s early in the season,” Derscheid said. “I look at rankings to get a sense of the competition. It’s good to have a teammate ranked. I’m Big Lauren and she’s Little Lauren.”
The Fairfield’s girls fourth place team finish was anchored by Kelsey Pacha (19th) and Carly Seely (20th). “I’m glad I get to run with Carly because she is very good at this. My goal is to stay in shape, but the competitiveness kicks in. I don’t like to lose.”
Fairfield’s boys were seventh as a team and Mt. Pleasant fifth but the Trojans had the higher individual finish — Kaidyn Mickels’ 18:11.3 for 14th to 15th in 18:11.6 for Ben Carthey.
Gabe Hemsworth was Winfield-Mount Union’s top finisher at No. 25, Wyatt Dennis led WACO in 34th place, Collin Miller’s 84th place led the Hillcrest Ravens.
Payten Poling was 22nd to lead Van Buren County, Cassidy Yaley was 30th to lead a short-handed Danville-New London team, Leah Bontrager was 38th for Hillcrest, Hannah Dennis was 83rd to lead WACO, and Maggie Hutton led Winfield-Mount Union, finishing 114th.
BOYS TEAM SCORES
1. Danville-New London 32, 2. Clear Creek-Amana 71, 3. Washington 117, 4. Oskaloosa 134, 5. Mt. Pleasant 186, 6. Chariton 196, 7. Fairfield 198, 8. Fort Madison 200, 9. Burlington 252, 10. Ottumwa 255, 11. Winfield-Mount Union 360, 12. WACO 528, 13. Hillcrest Academy 633
GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1. Clear Creek-Amana 72, 2. Washington 76, 3. Pekin 90, 4. Fairfield 135, 5. Ottumwa 143, 6. Mt. Pleasant 145, 7. Fort Madison 221, 8. Danville/New London 290, 9. Cardinal 305, 10. Chariton 332, 11. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 369