Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
KALONA -- Three-time state qualifier Leah Bontrager led the Ravens on her final tour of her home course Monday when Hillcrest Academy hosted its annual cross-country invitational.
Washington’s 6-7-8-9-12 (all freshmen) finish crushed second-place Pella’s girls, ranked 11th in Class 3A. Mya Whitaker of Regina won the girls race in 21 minutes, 16 seconds.
Pella’s boys, ranked sixth in Class 3A, won the team title with 19th-ranked Washington placing second. Washington senior Lance Sobaski won in 17:12 with teammate Micah Rees in second.
Bontrager has had a tough start to her senior season but placed 16th in 23:07. “I didn’t run much this summer due to various things like my foot injury and being sick. I knew I had to start working hard right away. I didn’t start where I wanted to but I will just keep working hard.” Her time was 2:48 better than her time on the same course at the Early Bird meet in late August and placed better than last year at this meet. “It is kind of sad (being the last meet), but it was a good way to end it. I love running with my teammates and it is fun to hear family and friends cheering me on.” When asked if she would be a four-time qualifier for state, she emphatically answered, “Yes!”
Kendall Hinrichsen was the Demons top finisher. Teammate Alyvia Anderson was just a second behind.
“I am stoked to do that because I was just trying to get back in my previous spot by running with (Lauren) Horak, Bella (Lujan) and Quincy (Griffis),” Hinrichsen said. “Running past the graveyard and through the woods, I am just in my own world and I love that.”
Sobaski had rolled his ankle in this event last season, “twice on the same root. I just strided out and stepped where it was safe.” That root had white paint on it Monday.
Sobaski was unsure of the Pella team’s strategy so he just focused on running his race. “If they can run with me, we will have a fun battle, but it was only a mile and a half someone was with me. I felt like I had a lot left.”
“I thought we would have more competition,” Rees said of his 16-second advantage on the top Pella finisher. “The first two miles they were all with me, but the last mile I shot forward and made my mark.”
Fairfield’s Brady McWhirter was fifth and Gavin Van Veen seventh.
“The first half of the race we went our pace, then we picked up the pace for the second half,” said Van Veen, who kicked hard in the final 75 meters to finish by 4/10 of a second over a Pella runner.
“This was a hard course,” McWhirter said. “I think I ran a time I wanted.”
The Hillcrest Academy teams next competition is the Southeast Iowa Super Conference meet at Heritage Oaks Golf club in rural Wapello Thursday.
GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1. Washington 42, 2. Pella 67, 3. Regina 76, 4. Mt. Pleasant 89, 5. Fairfield 96
Washington -- 6. Kendall Hinrichsen 22:07; 7. Lauren Horak 22:10; 8. Alyvia Anderson 22:11; 9. Quincy Griffis 22:141; 12. Isabella Lujans 22:50
Mt. Pleasant -- 2. Abby Blint 21:25; 5. Alexis Wagner 21:57; 22. Belle Meador 23:48; 31. Jenna Gilmore 25:19; 32. Jayden Housh 26:00
Fairfield -- 3. Kelsey Pacha 21:48; 14. Carly Seely 23:01; 23. Paige Bisgard 23:56; 29. Makenzie Kraemer 24:52; 30. Grace Forest 25:10
Hillcrest -- 16. Leah Bontrager 23:07; 38. Delaney Shaw 27:35; 40. Morgyn Nafziger 29:17; 41. Julia Boller 29:42
BOYS TEAM SCORES
1. Pella 53; 2. Washington 71; 3. Regina 82; 4. Fairfield 86; 5. Mount Pleasant 125; 6. North Mahaska 141; 7. English Valleys 162; 8. Hillcrest Academy 231
Washington -- 1. Lance Sobaski 17:12; 2. Micah Rees 17:35; 13. Drew Horak 18:50; 18. Tyler Alderton 19:07; 37. Quinn Wubenna 20:27
Mt. Pleasant -- 6. Ben Carthey 18:14; 24. C. Bracht-Wagner 19:24; 29. Gabe Feldman19:50; 30. Gannon McNamee19:59; 36. Taylor Johnson 20:22
Fairfield -- 5. Brady McWhirter 18:09; 7. Gavin Van Veen 18:19; 11. Kaidyn Mickels 18:42; 31. Dayton Mauck 20:00; 32. Nate Konczal20:00
Hillcrest -- 28. Collin Miller 19:47; 49. Jesse Blossom 22:52; 56. Jorge Canchola 23:50; 57. Diego Ramos 24:48; 58. Garrett Hurst 26:58