CROSS COUNTRY: Mustangs giving chase to Grinnell boys again

UNION – The East Marshall boys’ cross country team cut down on its time spread, but couldn’t cut into the gap between itself and Grinnell.

The Class 3A No. 10-ranked Tigers took the team title at the Comet Invitational on Saturday at the South Hardin Recreation Area, leaving the 2A No. 9 Mustangs in their wake for the second time this week.

Grinnell also won the South Tama County Invitational on Monday with East Marshall again giving chase. The Tigers put three runners inside the top 10 again to finish with 37 points and the meet crown. East Marshall’s five scoring runners finished within 52 seconds of each other – down from the 1:26 spread at the STC meet – but couldn’t reel in Grinnell.

Host BCLUW, rated ninth in 1A, placed third in the 10-team meet. South Tama was seventh and South Hardin eighth, while Gladbrook-Reinbeck and GMG did not field complete teams.

Grinnell’s Mason Doty finished in 17 minutes, 4 seconds, to take medalist honors, outdistancing South Hardin’s Tim Rose (17:28). BCLUW’s Cole Silver was fourth in 18:01, while East Marshall’s top tandem of Caleb Benzing (18:08) and Ben Terrones (18:14) took fifth and seventh, respectively.

Derek Coulter made it a pair of Comet runners in the top 10, finishing ninth in 18:21, while Blake Keller paced South Tama with his 10th-place finish in 18:25.

The Benzing triplets each were counting runners for East Marshall, which totaled 70 points. Nick Meling took 17th (18:50), Sam Benzing was 19th (18:50) and Josh Benzing took 22nd (19:00).

The South Hardin girls still haven’t found their way into the rankings, but the Tigers don’t seem to mind.

South Hardin came in third amidst a talented field, scoring 99 points to lead five area teams in attendance.

Class 3A No. 11-ranked Grinnell ran away with the team title, scoring 50 points, while Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR (82) and the Tigers (99) gave chase. Hudson (117) and 2A No. 6 East Marshall (119) fell in line.

The host Comets took seventh (140) and South Tama (144) was eighth. GMG had just one runner.

Junior Claire Damon was the top local finisher, leading South Hardin with a fifth-place finish in 16 minutes, 39 seconds. Freshman Miquela Teske took 11th in 17:06, while sophomores Megan Carr (18:02) and Lydia Rose (18:05) placed 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

Sophomore Haley Fye led the ranked Mustangs by finishing seventh in 16:47. Kristen Amendt was 17th in 17:32 and Bobbi Amendt placed 20th in 17:48.

Host BCLUW was paced by Becca Steckelberg, who came in eighth in 16:58. Amelia Tonner took 12th in 17:16. South Tama senior Taylor Ellenbecker was ninth, leading the Trojans in a time of 17:01. GMG’s only runner, freshman Natalie Smith, came in 41st (19:44).

Sisters Bethany and Jessica Lippert of AGWSR placed first and fourth respectively for IFA/AGWSR. Bethany Lippert was the meet medalist in 16:17.