1-2 punch leads MHS harriers to 2nd

RUNNELLS – Five days later than planned, the Marshalltown cross country teams kicked off their season with a trip to the Southeast Polk Invitational.

The Bobcat girls, on the strength of a 1-2 finish from Rachel Blagg and Michaela Huey, turned in a second-place team performance while the MHS boys were third.

Marshalltown had its originally scheduled season-opening earlybird meet on Thursday postponed by the unseasonably high temperatures to hit the state, making Tuesday’s event the Bobcats’ first.

The MHS girls got out to a solid start with the junior Blagg winning the event in 16 minutes, 31 seconds, and the senior Huey just behind at 16:33. Wynn Tan was sixth in 17:36, Becky Schwartzenburg came in 18th (19:03) and Abby Snyder scored 22nd (19:24) to round out the Bobcat scoring.

“I thought that the girls competed well considering the mileage we put in on Monday,” said coach Doug Bacon. “We obviously have some work to do but it was a solid start for us.”

Ankeny emerged atop the team standings with 39 points to Marshalltown’s 49, while Southeast Polk (75), Newton (103), Carlisle (117) and Oskaloosa (124) rounded out the scoring teams. All five of Ankeny’s scoring runners finished 13th or better, with Katie Bosch in third (16:41) and Bri Ross in fifth (17:19) leading the way for the Hawks.

On the boys’ side, Marshalltown’s third-place finish came courtesy of a team timing spread of just 1:01. Sophomore Sam Johnson led the way with a time of 19:32, which was good for 11th place overall and nine team points. Nate Phillips placed 17th in 19:44, Angel Pizano was 19th (20:09), Imad Amenzou was 20th (20:15) and Andrew Potter picked up 23rd (20:33).

“This was a good first race for the guys,” said coach Chad Pietig. “I was very pleased with their effort tonight.”

Marshalltown’s 76 team points trailed host Southeast Polk (45) and Oskaloosa (60). Carlisle (104), Ankeny (107) and Des Moines Lincoln (129) completed the scoring teams.

Oskaloosa’s Skylar DeJong won medalist honors in a time of 17:08, 39 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

The Bobcat girls are back in action on Saturday, competing in the Pella Invitational at 11 a.m. on the Central College campus. Marshalltown hosts the Bobcat Invitational on Sept. 12 at Marshalltown Community College. The co-ed meet begins at 4:30 p.m. and includes area teams BCLUW, East Marshall, GMG, Grundy Center, North Tama and South Tama.