JEFFERSON — The Creston cross country teams shined in their first varsity team competitions of the season here Thursday at the Greene County Invitational.
The Panther boys placed second in Class AA with 52 points, just five points behind team champion Perry. Nevada finished third with 86 points, while Winterset and Carroll Kuemper rounded out the top five with 114 and 115 points, respectively.
On the girls side, the Panthers finished third behind Winterset’s 31 points and Green County’s 62 points. Creston scored 79 team points. Fourth was Roland-Story with 99 and fifth was Nevada with 122.
The Panthers also earned seven varsity medals at the meet — four on the boys side and three on the girls side.
Sophomore Cooper McDermott finished second, junior Jay Wolfe third, senior Garret Taylor sixth and freshman Ben Irr 11th in the boys race.
Junior Maria Mostek paced the girls with a fourth-place finish, sophomore Taylor Briley finished seventh and sophomore Jessica Beatty placed 18th. Sophomore Madison Hance just missed medaling with her 21st-place finish.
“We knew going in both sides we had a chance to compete not only for individual honors, but team honors,” head coach Pat Schlapia said. “We did that. In fact, team wise girls and boys combined, this was probably our best showing.”
McDermott and Perry junior Atem Akok battled back and forth for the entire length of the 5K course around the school grounds in Jefferson, as the race came down to the final 380 meters on the track.
Akok just edged out McDermott at the finish line, winning the race in 16:51.09 compared to McDermott’s 16:52.03.
“This was nice that they ran shoulder to shoulder,” Schlapia said. “They traded off throughout the meet. They both worked on each other and Akok was just able to nip Cooper out. That’s going to be a competition that’s going to go throughout the season.”
The boys team race was also close, as Creston placed its top four in the top 11 of the meet, while Perry’s top four finished in the top 12. The difference came in the fifth and final scoring position, as Perry’s Cole Chance finished 19th, while Creston freshman Isaiah Foster came across in 30th.
“Our top four were within about a minute to a minute and a half of each other, and then with Isaiah, there’s about a minute gap,” Schlapia said. “We want to close that gap. We knew going in we had a shot at first, and Perry was just able to bunch theirs a little better than we were able to.”
The Panther girls finished third one year after winning the team title at the Greene County Invitational.
Mostek led the Panthers, being one of only two non-Winterset runners to finish in the top six.
“She ran a solid race,” Schlapia said. “I think the strong point with her smaller stature, I think she’s an even stronger hill runner compared to on the flat lands, but I think she still ran a solid race. She was going up against some stout competition. She battled right in there.”
Briley in seventh place, Beatty in 18th, Hance in 21st and Maddie Skarda in 29th place rounded out the scoring five for the Panther girls.
“Taylor Briley was able to come in with a top 10 finish,” Schlapia said. “She’s filling a very important spot for us at that second spot. Jess Beatty, gotta hand it to her, was battling some stomach problems during the race and she was still able to medal.”
Schlapia said it was nice for his teams to get a taste of varsity team competition before Monday’s meet at Ballard of Huxley.
“Next Monday is going to be a mini state meet at Ballard,” he said. “This gives us an idea of how to measure up to some of these schools up there. This is going to be a good eye opener for us. This is the competition we need. We’re not going to back away from any of this competition, no matter where they’re from.”
The Panthers will compete in Class B at Ballard — the second largest class.
Greene County Invitational
CLASS AA RESULTS
GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1. Winterset 31, 2. Greene County 62, 3. Creston 79, 4. Roland-Story 99, 5. Nevada 122, 6. Kuemper Catholic 144, 7. Denison 160, 8. Perry 210.
Leaders — 1. Brittany Sawyers, Winterset, 15:56.67; 2. Allison Higgins, Greene County, 16:01.04; 3. Dominique Fleming, Winterset, 16:04.32; 4. Maria Mostek, 16:27.04; 5. Layken Gurwell, Winterset, 16:27.04; 6. Sydney Kaufman, Winterset, 16:42.59; 7. Taylor Briley, Creston, 17:05.08; 8. Meredith VanZuiden, Kuemper, 17:14.10; 9. Caitlin Dewell, Nevada, 17:18.88; 10. Anna Halstead, Roland-Story, 17:46.87.
Creston — 4. Maria Mostek, 16:27.36; 7. Taylor Briley, 17:05.08; 18. Jessica Beatty, 18:08.24; 21. Madison Hance, 18:21.90; 29. Maddie Skarda, 18:34.60; 32. Raegen Smith, 18:47.59; 39. Angela Drey, 19:02.04.
Creston JV — 41. Rachel Shepherd, 19:05.63; 43. Caitlin McIlravy, 19:17.00; 46. Micah McCutchan, 19:30.24; 47. Savannah Hartman, 19:36.19; 50. Jenna Hayes, 19:59.88; 51. Cora Green, 20:11.09; 63. Amber Castillo, 20:37.71; 64. Ann Waigand, 20:47.95; 65. Madison Callahan, 20:49.98; 76. Leah Schuler, 22:04; 77. Jessica Drey, 22:08; 82. Sydney Suiter, 23:15; 92. Itzayanna Rubio, 25:34.
BOYS TEAM SCORES
1. Perry 47, 2. Creston 52, 3. Nevada 86, 4. Winterset 114, 5. Kuemper Catholic 115, 6. Denison 116, 7. Roland-Story 162, 8. Greene County 205.
Leaders — 1. Atem Akok, Perry, 16:51.09; 2. Cooper McDermott, Creston, 16:52.03; 3. Jay Wolfe, Creston, 17:47.13; 4. Josef Rogers, Denison, 17:57.19; 5. Keegan Pfau, Perry, 18:10.02; 6. Garret Taylor, Creston, 18:17.43; 7. Gabe Esser, Winterset, 18:26.48; 8. Lucas Markey, Nevada, 18:28.22; 9. Chandler Hagen, Kuemper, 18:32.36; 10. Christian Morales, Perry, 18:35.01.
Creston — 2. Cooper McDermott, 16:52.03; 3. Jay Wolfe, 17:47.13; 6. Garret Taylor, 18:17.43; 11. Ben Irr, 18:35.83; 30. Isaiah Foster, 19:38.76; 34. Kruz Adamson, 19:39.93; 38. Brant Hudson, 19:45.39.
Creston JV — 39. Zack Peppmeier, 19:48.94; 61. Kaleb Cook, 21:01.62; 65. Isaac Wignall, 21:16.19; 68. Evan Nielsen, 21:21.99; 79. Jacob Geary, 22:07.42; 87. Nick Walsh, 22:45.44; 109. Patrick Normandeau, 24:21.92; 111. Jeremy Stoll, 24:28.05; 119. Daniel Scott, 25:34.83; 120. Kyle Jennett, 25:35.28; 134. Elijah Johnson, 30:57.06.