The only surprise about the second annual All-Union girls cross-country team picks is that the selected captain is but a freshman. Last year’s captain was a senior. However, the surprise melts away when the name revealed is the same as last year’s and the previous year’s All-GTNS captain. And the same as the coach and previous years’ coach. That would be Hostetler, Hostetler and Hostetler.
Mid-Prairie freshman Danielle Hostetler carries on a family tradition as her sisters Marie and Ana before her were captains under coach and father Mark Hostetler.
Family tradition or dynasty, its just a matter of a word choice for continued hard work augmenting talent. Success breeds success so with a Mid-Prairie freshman and three junior teammates, the All-Union squad seems to have its name changed from the All-Golden Triangle News Service to the (Mostly) All-Golden Hawks team.
The team is very elite however with a Bear among the top three finishers at the Class 2A state meet being All-Union. So elite that there was no room for a runner who is one of only eight to hold a place in cross-country history.
Mid-Prairie senior Ana Fleming was an All-Union pick as a junior and All-GTNS as a freshman. She was the second Golden Hawk to finish last year, third as a sophomore and third as a freshman. Only Hostetlers finished in front of her from her team. As the No. 5 this year, she becomes one of just eight girls in history to be a scoring member on four straight championships. Alas, she was not one of this year’s elite seven All-Union members.
Danielle Hostetler, freshman, Mid-Prairie
There was no doubt she was forged her own path and staked out her own claim to fame with a performance in the first competition of the season that shot her straight to the top of the rankings and the radar of all cross-country fans. With her name she wasn’t going to sneak up on anyone and was the eighth-grade state champion. The longer high school race was no problem as she set a Mid-Prairie team record in her first varsity competition, winning with a time of 17 minutes, 36 seconds. She was ranked first in Class 2A from then on, except when she suffered an injury and didn’t race for a week. A complete drop out of the 30 top individuals was more commotion than problem as she returned to the course still nursing a painful hip and continued to win races, perched atop the rankings.
In the meet to get to state, Hostetler ran a time of 18:47, 32 seconds faster than second place. Her winning time at state was 19:08 in windy conditions and second place was 23 seconds behind. Both of those second places were fellow All-Union pick Addison Parrott of Danville-New London.
Mark Hostetler, Mid-Prarie
A perennial Coach of the Year by the Iowa High School Track and Field and Cross-country coaches organization, Hostetler has built a powerhouse nurturing the talent on the Golden Hawks for his fourth consecutive Class 2A girls title. In his 15th year as a Golden Hawk, he also has a boys title in 2016 and two more state championships when he coached at Iowa Mennonite School, one track and one cross-country.
The record of consecutive championships is five by Iowa City, City High from 1989-1993. Mid-Prairie’s championship makes it four teams now tied with four consecutive titles.
Last season’s title was the closest it could be with a single point separating Williamsburg from the Golden Hawks. The previous year was a 89-118 win over the Raiders. This year was a runaway, 45-107 over Tipton and Williamsburg at 119.
The state qualifier was a triumph for Hostetler as all seven runners qualified for state as individuals and the five scoring Golden Hawks all finished in the top seven. Mid-Prairie’s total of 21 points bettered its previous record of 24 points in 2017.
Addison Parrott, senior, Danville-New London
In a Class 2A field filled with Mid-Prairie runners, D-NL’s Parrott was the Golden Hawks’ one real threat. The senior was consistently the top girl in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference and one of the best in her class.
Parrott won her second-straight SEISC title this year, winning the girls race by just under one-and-a-half minutes with a final time of 18:57.53. She led the D-NL girls to a second-place finish as a team, and the Bears eventually went on to earn a spot in the Class 2A race at the state meet.
After rising up to sixth place in the 2019 state race, Parrott ended her career at the top of her game in 2020. She took second overall at the state meet, logging a time of 19:31.3, and helped her team place 13th in the overall standings.
Parrott proved to be at the top of her class age wise. She was the only senior in the entire Top-15 of the 2020 Class 2A girls race.
Jaden Yoder, junior, Mid-Prairie
What a difference a year makes. Not many realize what one practices in June makes a big difference in October. Yoder ran at state as a sophomore and was seventh on the Golden Hawks, 63rd overall with a time of 21:15. Through discipline, mental toughness and hard work, her time this year was a 19:38, which meant she was third, not on the team, overall! Her time was 30 seconds behind the winner and just seven behind second place, nine ahead of fourth.
Yoder had to stay away from her teammates in the middle of the season for a quarantine situation. That did not stop her from practicing on her own and she came back strong with an ability to come through in big meets.
Mitzi Evans, junior, Mid-Prairie
Evans is on the team for the third time. She quietly goes about her business and is an invaluable cog in the Mid-Prairie machine. As a freshman, Evans was 14th at the state meet in 20:32.5 and finished the year ranked 19th by the Iowa Track and Cross-country Coaches Association after climbing as high as seventh. Her sophomore performance was 19:53.7 at state to place 18th overall and earn 13 team points. This season, she was eighth for seven points in 19:56. Evans was often ranked in the Top 10 throughout her career.
Sydney Yoder, junior, Mid-Prairie
Last season at state, Yoder was seen passing as many as 20 people in the last mile. Her time of 20:31 was 33rd overall but 21 team points, which were crucial as the fifth and last score in the one-point win over Williamsburg. This year her time was 20:02 but she was passed in the last 30 yards by six or seven runners as she struggled to finish, staggering to the line and collapsing across it to the concern of many, With arms and legs that felt “like chunks of ice,” Yoder’s finish was 11th overall and placed nine team points. An incredible feat of mental fortitude to overcome the physical problems showcase the Golden Hawks superiority in numerous areas beside the actual act of running.
Abby Blint, junior Mt. Pleasant
After rising up the Southeast Conference ranks in her freshman and sophomore campaigns, the time finally came for Mt. Pleasant’s Blint to get to the top in 2020. Blint was an early favorite among SEC girls runners this season, and she battled plenty of injury and uncertainty to reach her goals.
The first goal to hit was becoming SEC champion, and that happened on October 15 in Washington. The Mt. Pleasant junior crossed the line in 20:23.21, beating second-place Malena Bloomquist of Fairfield by 44 seconds to earn her first conference gold. She also led the Panthers to a team title.
Mt. Pleasant’s top runner followed that up with a 12th-place finish in the state qualifying meet at Monticello to rack up another first. Blint was off to the state meet in Fort Dodge for the first time in her career, the only Mt. Pleasant runner to qualify in 2020.
Blint didn’t disappoint when she got to Fort Dodge. She crossed the tape in 20:28.2 to finish 43rd place in her first try at state.
When the 2021 cross-country season comes back around, Blint will be one of the heavy favorites in the SEC once again, and she and the Panthers will be one of the most promising teams in Southeast Iowa.
Lauren Dershied, junior, Pekin
Three years in high school, three years at the state meet for Dershied, who is home schooled and schools others during the course of a 5k run. Dershied and her Panther teammates placed fourth at state after holding down the No. 2 spot in the rankings all year. Pekin was seventh her freshman year when she earned 30 team points with her time of 21:47.6. Sophomore season result for the team was ninth overall but she ran more than a minute faster at 20:38 earning 21 team points. Her time as a junior was 21:38 and 25 points. The Pekin team had a pack mentality and any one would finish first. Dershied won the first two races of the year and yo-yoed through the rankings with Lily Fariss who ran 20:26 at state (16) last year and 21:45 (31) this year as a junior. Freshmen Lauren Steigleder went 20:45 (12) at state and Aubrey Fariss was 22:11 (43). Junior Sarah Eubanks was (50) 22:26.
**Special mention to Mid-Prairie senior Ana Fleming, an All-Union pick as a junior and All-GTNS as a freshman, She placed 33rd in 21:16 and was the fifth scorer. Mid-Prairie’s fourth straight team championship makes her one of just eight girls who have been a member on four straight titles. Coach Hostetler was quoted after last year’s 1-point team victory saying “Ana Fleming had been our sixth, fifth, four runner. Today she was No. 2 for us.” She finished in 19:46 to earn 11 points. She was 10th in 19:43 as a freshman at state and 15th as a sophomore, running 20:32.