FORT DODGE — Saturday morning, the best cross country runners in the state of Iowa will convene here at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course for the State Cross Country Meet.
A total of 14 area harriers will be among the best cross country runners in the state, as nine area individuals qualified and five more are a part of the first Creston boys cross country team to qualify for state since 1988.
Besides having the first boys team to qualify in 25 years, Creston cross country also set a new benchmark with three individual qualifiers — the most in a single year in school history.
Juniors Maria Mostek and Jay Wolfe, along with sophomore Cooper McDermott all qualified individually.
It’s the third trip to state for Mostek, who is the only girl in Creston cross country history to qualify three times. It’s McDermott’s second trip to state after qualifying in Class 4A last year for Newton. Wolfe is making his first appearance at the state meet.
Mostek finished 24th as a freshman and 27th last year, while McDermott was 71st in Class 4A.
The other members of the Creston boys team are Ben Irr, Garret Taylor, Kruz Adamson, Brant Hudson and Zack Peppmeier.
“We’re looking to improve,” Creston head coach Pat Schlapia said. “We still haven’t hit our best yet, and each time we’ve been moving up. Especially in October, we’ve been hitting our stride. These are the times we talk about wanting to peak.”
Schlapia said last Thursday’s State Qualifying Meet in Winterset was close to a total team race for the boys, but he’s still looking for a bit more out of the boys team.
“Our engine is seven cylinders,” Schlapia said, referencing the seven varsity runners. “Putting it all together, that’s something we expect to happen. Coach (Gary) O’Daniels and myself, we’ve been talking about leaving it out there on the course. We want to go up there and compete and beat some of these teams and individuals.”
Mostek will toe the line in the Class 3A girls race at noon, while the Class 3A boys race is scheduled to go off at 12:30 p.m.
The competitions in Class 1A will feature six area runners — Nodaway Valley youngsters Destiny Scar, Shane Breheny, Heath Downing and Brayten Funke, East Union freshman Emma Harper and Mount Ayr senior Noah Larsen.
With the exception of Scar, the other five runners will be making their first appearances at the state meet.
Scar finished 16th as a freshman in last year’s competition. She is seen as one of the top contenders in Class 1A.
Scar is currently ranked 26th in the state, while East Union’s Harper is ranked 29th.
The Class 1A girls race starts at 2 p.m.
In his first season as a full-time cross country athlete, Larsen has quickly risen in the Class 1A boys rankings, and enters the state meet ranked fifth. He is seen as one of the top contenders in the individual race.
Breheny and Downing are also ranked individually for the Wolverines at 12th and 20th, respectively.
Nodaway Valley’s Breheny and East Union’s Harper are cousins, and will both be making their first state meet appearances together as freshmen.
The Class 1A boys race starts at 2:30 p.m.
2013 State Cross Country Meet schedule
Lakeside Municipal Golf Course
11 a.m. — Girls 4A
11:30 a.m. — Boys 4A
12 p.m. — Girls 3A
12:20 p.m. — Awards Ceremony 4A
12:30 p.m. — Boys 3A
1 p.m. — Girls 2A
1:20 p.m. — Awards Ceremony 3A
1:30 p.m. — Boys 2A
2 p.m. — Girls 1A
2:20 p.m. — Awards Ceremony 2A
2:30 p.m. — Boys 1A
3 p.m. — Awards Ceremony 1A