Newly rated Rose breaks free from the leaders

GRUNDY CENTER – The lead pack of four separated itself from the field fairly quickly Thursday, yet South Hardin’s Tim Rose patiently bided his time before finding the separation he needed for the win.

Rose reached the chute in 16 minutes, 11 seconds, pulling away from Aplington-Parkersburg’s CJ May (16:15) and Dike-New Hartford’s John Crew (16:19) in the Spartan Invite at Town & Country Golf Club.

“I figured if I could just stay with them through the first two miles, I could hopefully get them in the end,” said Rose – rated 18th in Class 2A.

“I had a little bit of an advantage today because I’m short and they’re a lot taller, so with the wind it helped a lot. In the hills I just tried to move a little bit away and get some distance on them.”

Though even with his late move, Rose didn’t feel his lead was safe until the final meters.

“I really wasn’t confident until I was almost across the line because they’re really good runners, and you never know what can happen until you get across the finish line,” said Rose, who claimed his first victory on the season.

Denver’s Kyle Kehoe, the top-ranked runner in Class 1A, also was in the mix up front before falling back to fourth in 16:39. May is ranked 27th in Class 2A, while Crew was previously rated.

“That was a real strong front pack of four,” said South Hardin coach Mike Olson. “Tim took control a couple times during the race, set the pace and pushed a bit to wear them down.”

Class 1A No. 1 Denver (65) edged Class 2A No. 5 East Marshall by three points for the top of the podium.

The Cyclones placed three runners in the top-10 and four among the top-14 to edge the Mustangs. Caleb Benzing paced East Marshall with a sixth-place performance clocking 17:04. Nick Meling (17:28) and 2A No. 29 Ben Terrones (17:31) took 10th and 11th. Sam Benzing claimed 19th and Seth Webb took 22nd to complete the Mustangs’ team score.

“The boys pack remains solid and they keep moving up,” said East Marshall coach Erik Niggemeyer. “It was a good meet to see where we stand with the rest of the conference.”

Cole Silver’s successful transition from the gridiron to the cross country course continued Thursday. The BCLUW senior, rated 22nd in Class 1A, grabbed fifth in 16:55 to lead the No. 8 Comets to fourth (123). Hudson was eight points ahead in third.

Derek Coulter came through in 12th for BCLUW and is one of many enjoying the benefits of having Silver on the squad.

“We’re happy to have him over here,” BCLUW coach Donna Fiscus said of Silver. “It gives Derek that push that he needed, because last year he didn’t really have anyone at his spot.”

Dike-New Hartford garnered fifth with 130 points, while South Hardin (184) earned a four-point cushion over Jesup.

Union (209), Aplington-Parkersburg (234), Dunkerton (245) and Grundy Center (264) rounded out the 11 complete teams.

Zac Farrell garnered 16th for the Tigers, while freshman Finn Cleveland led the Spartans in 15th.

“Finn had a very good race, that’s his best of the year,” said Grundy Center coach Chris Henely. “We’ve got a young crew and we’re looking forward to what the guys can do down the road.”

The Spartans were without lead runner Espen Cleveland, who competed in the JV race to make it back in time for Homecoming coronation.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck, GMG and North Tama didn’t have enough runners to figure into the team standings. Tyler Buoy finished 13th for the Rebels, Jeff Hughes took 45th for the Wolverines and Brian Zobel led the Redhawks in 60th.