—by Todd Thorson

With over 40 schools converging on Huxley last Monday night (Sept 16), it had to (well, almost) feel like what Ames experiences when the students return to Iowa State University. The four class Ballard Invitational cross country meet held each year is one of the elite cross country meets in Central Iowa. Staged at the Ballard Golf and Country club just north of Huxley, some of the best CC teams in the area came to compete. The Norsemen boys and girls took part in Class C, along with 10 other teams.

The R-S girls finished fourth with 118 points, trailing only champion Panorama (79), South Hardin (94) and North Polk (105). Sarah Lunn came in fifth overall with a 4K time of 16:42; just 27 seconds away from the runner up spot. Anna Halstead finished 18th with a time of 17:24, followed by Cathy Narigon in 25th (17:53), Taylor Smith in 32nd (18:13), Tara Rylant in 38th (18:38) and Traci Marienau in 39th (18:39). Tiffany Christensen of Eagle Grove took the individual title with a time of 15:29; 46 seconds in front of runner up Claire Damon of South Hardin (16:15).

Coming in behind the Norsemen were CMB (137), West Central (157), I-35 (158), Clarion-Goldfield (159), Eagle Grove (159) and PCM (207).

The Norse boys managed a sixth place finish with a total of 140 points; just 10 points out of fourth place. North Polk easily won the crown with an impressive 41 points, as four of their seven runners finished in the top 11. Panorama was second with a distant 78 points. Eagle Grove was third at 102, followed by CMB (130), Ogden (131), Roland-Story (140), South Hardin (150), I-35 (210), West Central (215) and PCM (228).

Three Norsemen finished in the top 20, led by Spencer Dedic in 14th place with a 5K time of 18:53. Thomas Wilgenbusch and Dakota Rusher came in at 18th and 19th place with times of 19:02 and 19:06, respectively. Cole Johnson posted a 20:21, good for 37th place. Reid Selby was 52nd with a finish of 21:12. Tavender Jones was in at 21:24 and a 55th place finish. And Ray Chung was 59th at 21:48. Peter Smith of North Polk won the title with a time of 16:22. Tim Rose from South Hardin was second at 17:05, followed by Ryley Sandberg of North Polk in third with a time of 17:36.

In Class A, the Pella girls took the title, while Boone claimed the boys’ crown. Gilbert’s girls squad had an impressive showing, winning the Class B title, while Creston won the Class B boys’ crown. In Class D Lynnville-Sully held off the South Hamilton girls by four points, 43-47. BCLUW won the Class D boys’ title. The South Hamilton boys tied for second in Class D, 18 points behind BCLUW, 74-92.

"I was really happy with all the athletes at this meet," commented Coach Chad Gilroy. "This is always a great meet to race in, (as) they do a pretty good job of staying on time and offering competitive races. I was pleased with how we ran a strong middle part of the races. This is something we’ve been focused on lately, and they did a great job with it. It’s fun for me to watch the runners get excited about beating their times from last year, and continuing to improve each week."