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L-S runners improve in busy week, girls take second twice (Hometown Press article)

posted Sep 16, 2017, 10:23 PM by Webmaster lynnville-sully

L-S runners improve in busy week, girls take second twice

The L-S cross-country program has experienced individual and team success during the past week.


On a cool and windy night last Tuesday, Sept. 5, the runners were at Grinnell to compete against some bigger schools along with some schools from the SICL Conference.

The girls team beat two conference opponents, Montezuma and Belle Plaine, scoring 226 points on the night. L-S Coach Darin Arkema commented on the competition, “This is a pretty large meet with mostly 3A or larger schools, so we wanted to focus our efforts on using that good competition to help us improve.”

Senior Mary Kate Shaver came in 29th overall and was the first runner for the Hawks with a time of 22:11. Behind her, in 36th, sophomore Abby Gruver clocked in at 22:40. Freshman Megan Vante placed 43rd with a time of 23:18. Senior Christine Nikkel came in 61st at 24:45, not far ahead of junior Emily Van Gorp, who ran the race in 24:57 (64th).

Senior Mary Kate Shaver pushes herself to be the top L-S girls runner at Grinnell, placing 29th.

Number six and seven runners for the Hawks were sophomore Ashton Thompson running a 26:46, earning her 80th, and senior Haley Breeden at 26:53, receiving 82nd.

JV runners were sophomore Abigail Davis (25:41, 20th), senior Hailey Scandridge (26:07, 28th), sophomore Brittney Hansen (26:15, 30th), and freshman Hadley Tice (27:03, 38th).

The Hawks raced three boys at the Grinnell meet. Senior Josh Dunsbergen placed 47th and clocked in at 19:12. In 78th was junior Joseph Anderson, running the 5K in 20:49. Placing one behind him in 79th was freshman Mason Jansen in 20:51.

“All three of the boys had season-best times tonight,” Arkema noted. “Josh ran a very smart race, using great strategy and understanding his strengths. Joseph and Mason pushed each other along almost the whole race and had great kicks to the finish line.”

Results of the L-S Middle School girls running their first race of 1.25 miles are Kinsley Tice (30th, 9:03), Greenlee Smock (40th, 9:21), and Reagan McFarland (44th, 9:25). The middle school boys also ran their first race of 1.25 miles: James Gruver (21st, 7:51), Gentry Walston (8:42), Zach Morningstar (101st, 9:51), and Evan Fikse (121st, 10:38).


A short two days later, on Sept. 7, the Hawks competed at Colfax, where they faced the hardest course of the season thus far. This new meet had almost all 1A competition.

“This was our third meet in six days. I understood coming into the night if legs may be a little heavy and bodies a bit tired, but I knew the kids wouldn’t back down and would rise up to give the best effort they could tonight,” commented Arkema.

As a team, the L-S girls placed second, behind Baxter, a ranked 1A team. The Hawks beat conference opponent Colfax-Mingo by 16 points.

The top three runners for the Hawks all earned top 10 honors. Shaver placed third, finishing in 22:03. Megan Van Zante was seventh, coming in at 23:32. Behind her was Gruver in ninth with a time of 23:42.

Nikkel placed 23rd, running a 25:33. Breeden crossed the line in 26:12, placing 26th, and Van Gorp clocked in at 26:24, receiving 29th. Thompson placed 34th in 26:44.

Some other runners for the Hawks were Davis (27:05, 36th), Hansen (27:17, 40th), Scandridge (27:31, 41st), and Tice (28:32, 45th).

The boys added another boy to their squad, one short of a full team. Dunsbergen placed 21st, crossing the finish line at 20:19. Jansen ran the 5K in 21:48 and placed 32nd, with Anderson behind him placing 33rd in 21:48. Freshman Luke Kramer finished his first race of the season in 26:18, placing 75th.

A highlight of the night came in the junior high boys race where J. Gruver won the race in convincing fashion in 11:46. He was followed by Walston (13:45, 18th), Morningstar (15:21, 28th), and Fikse (16:03, 39th).

“The junior high had their eyes opened tonight in terms of hills and a more difficult course than running at Grinnell,” Arkema said. “We’ll keep training to have them better equipped to handle those challenges and race well.”

The L-S cross-country team will be back on the Colfax course in October for the conference meet.


On Monday, Sept. 11, the Hawks made their way to Pleasantville and saw some more 1A/2A competition, including conference opponent Colfax Mingo.

The girls team took second again, despite an illness in L-S’s fourth runner, Nikkel. PCM won the meet, and Colfax-Mingo took third.

Four girls earned medals at Pleasantville. Shaver placed third in 21:45. Gruver placed sixth after moving up 13 spots the last two miles, finishing in 22:35, and Van Zante got 15th, clocking in at 23:26. Hansen earned third place in JV, running her best time of the year, 25:58.

In the girls varsity race, Van Gorp placed 23rd in a time of 24:34.        “Emily was a big difference maker tonight, accepting the challenge to race up and fill that void without Christine,” Arkema said.

Thompson earned 33rd in 25:26, followed one place behind by Breeden at 25:29. Davis finished her race in 27:57 and received 44th place.

A couple other JV runners for the Hawks were Scandridge (28:10, 12th) and Tice (28:57, 15th).

On the boys’ side, Dunsbergen had his best time of the season, racing an 18:57 and placing sixth. Jansen also had his best race yet, clocking in at 20:49, earning 22nd. Anderson placed 30th in 22:09 while battling some illness, and Kramer came in at 60th in 27:36.

The Hawks host their first home meet this year on Thursday, Sept. 14, at the Diamond Trail Golf Club.