RED OAK — Cooper McDermott became just the second Hawkeye 10 Conference individual champion in Creston cross country history here Thursday, as he dominated his way to the win.
Just prior to McDermott’s race, junior Maria Mostek made a charge in the second half of the girls varsity 4K, coming up just short of winning the individual girls crown in second place.
“This is nice to put together,” Creston head coach Pat Schlapia said about having a boy and a girl competing for the individual victory. “The last time we’ve had both a boy and a girl contending for the conference crown would have been 2005 with Scott Vicker and Karla Fisher. That brought an excitement to the race for both individuals.”
McDermott didn’t just win the individual title, he ran away with it. McDermott finished the 5K course in 17:22, 29 seconds ahead of second place Chris Brace of Harlan.
The Creston sophomore broke away from the rest of the competitors at about the 1K mark, running the rest of the race entirely by himself.
“I was surprised,” McDermott said about breaking contact so early. “I figured we’d be up there for a while and we’d battle through, but it was kind of nice.”
In winning the Hawkeye 10 Conference Meet, McDermott becomes just the second individual champion in Creston’s history.
“The last conference champion was back in 2006,” Schlapia said. “Scott Vicker was the first one to do that, and he was a two-time conference champion (2005-06). Like he has all season, Cooper led us out there. He ran awesome. He sent a message to the conference and, basically, sent a message to the teams we’ll be seeing at the State Qualifying Meet next week.”
Mostek started the race in the top 10 through the first kilometer, and at the 2-kilometer mark (halfway), had moved up into fourth place.
At the 3-kilometer mark, Mostek made another move, charging into second place behind Shenandoah’s Megan Hart. Hart had put a large gap on Mostek, but over the course of the final kilometer, Mostek cut into that lead.
Making the final turn, Mostek moved up right behind Hart, but the Shenandoah senior was able to pull away once again in the final 300 meters to hold Mostek off by four seconds.
Mostek ran 16:56.81 compared to Hart’s 16:52.41.
“I really wanted to get her,” Mostek said about the finish. “She ran really hard. Hills are a big thing, and on that last hill, I was kind of feeling it, and so was she. Just trying to go down that finish, I was trying to close it, but I couldn’t.”
“Maria ran a very solid race,” Schlapia said. “She adapts and runs so well on the hillier courses. She really worked well, running very relaxed. She’s really stepped up her game the past couple of weeks.”
Both Creston varsity teams found themselves in tight team races.
The boys varsity finished third with 87 points, 23 points back of Harlan for second place, and just two points ahead of Council Bluffs St. Albert for third. Shenandoah won the team title with 58 points.
Junior Jay Wolfe, who finished ninth, passed a Falcon runner in the final 100 meters, making a two-point swing. Freshman Ben Irr passed several runners in the final 100 meters, also making a difference.
And senior Kruz Adamson stepped up to fill the fifth spot for the Panthers as Isaiah Foster dealt with hip issues during the race. Adamson finished 38th. Fellow senior Garret Taylor placed 25th, just missing a top-20 medal.
“The boys went after it to win it,” Schlapia said. “I can’t fault them for that. There’s four ranked teams in the top four for the boys. We’ll take third, but we’re not happy, because we know we can do even better. They’ve got their sights set on some certain goals.”
Meanwhile, the girls finished fourth with 121 points — 16 back of St. Albert for third, and just three ahead of Shenandoah and five ahead of Glenwood.
Sophomore Taylor Briley finished 11th, while Savannah Hartman, running her first varsity race of the year finished in the third spot for Creston at 34th.
Madison Hance and Jessica Beatty rounded out the scoring for the Panthers in 36th and 38th, respectively.
A total of eight Creston JV runners earned top-20 ribbons on Thursday, with five girls and three boys finishing in the top 20.
Jenna Hayes led the way for the JV girls in seventh place, and earned a varsity spot for next week’s State Qualifying Meet with her time of 19:13. Caitlin McIlravy, Rachel Shepherd, Angela Drey and Abbie Cook also earned ribbons.
For the boys, Brant Hudson placed fifth and Zack Peppmeier sixth. Both earned varsity spots for next week’s State Qualifying Meet, while Isaac Wignall placed 18th.
“Evan Nielsen, kind of our spiritual leader on the team, he just finished out of the top 25 with 27th,” Schlapia said.
Nielsen, Michael Walsh, Jacob Geary, Jeremy Stoll, Daniel Scott and Itzayanna Rubio all ran their final races in a Creston uniform, as only the top seven on each team will compete at the State Qualifying Meet in Winterset next Thursday.
The Creston middle school team also competed. Results of the middle school races will be published in a future edition of the Creston News Advertiser.
“Middle school has had a fine season,” Schlapia said. “Hats off to the kids and the coaches — Clay and Maggie Arnold. They’ve made it a great feeder program. What we’re able to do now on the high school level gets started on the middle school level.”
The top 10 individuals and top three teams for both boys and girls will advance from next Thursday’s State Qualifying Meet to the State Cross Country Championships in Fort Dodge on Nov. 2.
Hawkeye 10 Conference Meet
GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1. Lewis Central 82, 2. Harlan 85, 3. Council Bluffs St. Albert 105, 4. Creston 121, 5. Shenandoah-Essex 124, 6. Glenwood 126, 7. Atlantic 140, 8. Red Oak 192, 9. Denison-Schleswig 221, 10. Clarinda 229, 11. Kuemper Catholic 280.
Leaders — 1. Megan Hart, Shenandoah-Essex, 16:52.41; 2. Maria Mostek, Creston, 16:56.81; 3. Denae Statzer, Lewis Central, 17:06.56; 4. Tiffany Williams, Atlantic, 17:10.37; 5. Jacey Martin, CBSA, 17:16.96; 6. Marissa Klindt, Harlan, 17:22.18; 7. Mercedee Mayberry, Harlan, 17:23.92; 8. Sarah Cabeen, Clarinda, 17:27.09; 9. Lizzy Young, Glenwood, 17:38.09; 10. Taylor Rolles, Lewis Central, 17:46.24.
Creston — 2. Maria Mostek, 16:56.81; 11. Taylor Briley, 17:57.11; 34. Savannah Hartman, 18:50.68; 36. Madison Hance, 19:01.43; 38. Jessica Beatty, 19:03.18; 41. Raegen Smith, 19:08.81; 48. Maddie Skarda, 19:25.84.
Creston JV — 7. Jenna Hayes, 19:13.20; 12. Caitlin McIlravy, 19:42.02; 17. Rachel Shepherd, 19:57.72; 18. Angela Drey, 19:59.37; 19. Abbie Cook, 20:02.06; 30. Cora Green, 20:19.02; 33. Amber Castillo, 20:34.86; 37. Micah McCutchan, 20:47.50; 42. Madison Callahan, 21:10.78; 44. Ann Waigand, 21:13.00; 59. Jessica Drey, 22:21.52; 66. Leah Schuler, 22:55.59; 68. Sydney Suiter, 23:13.31; 74. Itzayanna Rubio, 24:18.12.
BOYS TEAM SCORES
1. Shenandoah 58, 2. Harlan 64, 3. Creston 87, 4. Council Bluffs St. Albert 89, 5. Glenwood 152, 6. Denison-Schleswig 154, 7. Red Oak 159, 8. Kuemper Catholic 163, 9. Lewis Central 223, 10. Atlantic 241, 11. Clarinda 294.
Leaders — 1. Cooper McDermott, Creston, 17:22.05; 2. Chris Brace, Harlan, 17:49.87; 3. Max Ross, Council Bluffs St. Albert, 17:50.65; 4. Nate Hoyt, Shenandoah, 17:50.96; 5. Josef Rogers, Denison, 17:55.90; 6. Brad Young, Shenandoah, 18:06.56; 7. Philip Sciranko, Harlan, 18:10.47; 8. Chandler Hagen, Kuemper, 18:11.46; 9. Jay Wolfe, Creston, 18:17.41; 10. Fred Hug, CBSA, 18:18.02.
Creston — 1. Cooper McDermott, 17:22.05; 9. Jay Wolfe, 18:17.41; 14. Ben Irr, 18:25.52; 25. Garret Taylor, 18:52.52; 38. Kruz Adamson, 19:31.28; 48. Kaleb Cook, 19:57.59; 55. Isaiah Foster, 20:09.43.
Creston JV — 5. Brant Hudson, 19:45.41; 6. Zack Peppmeier, 19:57.28; 18. Isaac Wignall, 20:36.52; 27. Evan Nielsen, 20:48.40; 57. Michael Walsh, 21:51.15; 63. Jacob Geary, 22:03.62; 66. Nick Walsh, 22:07.40; 96. Jeremy Stoll, 23:39.49; 105. Daniel Scott, 24:14.55; 134. Patrick Normandeau, 27:18.09; 139. Elijah Johnson, 30:50.25.