The Creston cross country team had plenty to celebrate at its postseason awards banquet Sunday evening in the Creston High School commons, as the cross country “family” gathered for its Thanksgiving dinner.
“I think it’s appropriate, with tonight being the last Sunday before Thanksgiving, this is kind of our time,” head coach Pat Schlapia said. “We talk about the cross country family all the time, and we’re all getting together like a family on Thanksgiving. This is our Thanksgiving dinner.”
Among the reasons to celebrate and be thankful at the event were three second-place finishes and one team title by the girls team throughout the season, and two top-four finishes for the boys team, including at the Hawkeye 10 Conference Meet, and a team title at the Nodaway Valley meet.
“This is the first year we’ve had a good girls and boys team combined on that,” Schlapia said. “We had high expectations with this team. If we don’t have high expectations, we’re not going to accomplish anything. We really made some steps up. This year we took a big step up.”
The Panthers also celebrated sophomore Maria Mostek’s repeat trip to the state meet, where she finished 27th in 15:35. Mostek is the fifth repeat-qualifier for the program in the past 13 years, as the Panthers have sent 12 representatives to the state meet in those 13 years.
Schlapia commended the athletes who stuck it out and finished the season.
“We started with close to 60 kids, and that’s the most we’ve had out since the early 1990s,” Schlapia said. “We had 47 high school kids finish. You guys that are here tonight, my hat’s off to you guys, because you finished the season. We pushed you guys through a lot, and we demand a lot from you guys, because we expect a lot from you.”
The stellar career of senior Emily Wignall was also celebrated, as Wignall was named the Chris Wyatt Award recipient for 2012. Wignall was also recognized for participating in the Senior All-Star Meet.
Schlapia proudly presented eight seniors with Hawkeye 10 academic honors, as well, stating that this was the highest number athletes from one team he has had earn that honor.
Nine athletes were recognized for their dedication during the summer with summer running awards.
But, Schlapia left his runners with a challenge for next year.
“What I want us to do, have more than nine kids in summer running,” Schlapia said. “I want us to at least double that.”
Schlapia also took time to thank everyone who was involved with the Creston cross country team this season, thanking the school, families of the athletes, media outlets, Southwestern Community College, Crestmoor Golf Club, the CHS Booster Club, Rev. Jim Morris, the coaching staff and the entire Creston community.
(* — number of letters)
Freshmen — Jessica Beatty*, Taylor Briley*, Amber Castillo*, Madison Hance*, Micah McCutchan*, Caitlin McIlravy*.
Sophomores — Kaleb Cook**, Brant Hudson**, Jay Wolfe**, Savannah Hartman**, Jenna Hayes*, Maria Mostek**, Monica Powers*, Maddie Skarda**, Bree Daggett*.
Juniors — Kruz Adamson***, Evan Nielsen*, Zack Peppmeier**, Garret Taylor***.
Seniors — Austin Hurt*, Travis Miller**, Jacob Wolfe*, Taylor Hudson*, Emily Lange*, Carlea Schuler*, Emily Schroeder*, Katie Stevens****, Emily Wignall****, Kelsey Riley***.
Participation awards — Jacob Geary, Hannah Johnston, Itzayanna Rubio, Daniel Scott, Tyler Shepherd, Jeremy Stoll, Michael Walsh, Jessica Drey, Tyler Helm, Kyle Jennett, Elijah Johnson, Brittney Minson, Raegen Smith, Abbie Cook, Kelsey Donner, Corissa Kinkade, Sydney Suiter, Ann Waigand.
Hawkeye 10 academic awards — Taylor Hudson, Austin Hurt, Emily Lange, Travis Miller, Emily Schroeder, Carlea Schuler, Emily Wignall, Jacob Wolfe.
Summer running awards — Kruz Adamson, Maria Mostek, Zack Peppmeier, Monica Powers, Emily Schroeder, Maddie Skarda, Raegen Smith, Garret Taylor, Emily Wignall.
Chris Wyatt award — Emily Wignall.