Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
Championship season for cross country teams doesn’t get into full swing across the state until next weeks when conference meets begin to fill the schedule.
The Mississippi Valley Conference offers a sneak peek at championship season on Thursday as some of the top teams in the state meet at Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids for the annual MVC Super Meet.
For years the Super Meet has been among the top conference meets in the state, serving as a postseason warmup for individual and team state title contenders.
Thursday’s latest running should be no different.
Between the boys and girls races, 14 of the 30 competing teams appear in the latest rankings released Tuesday by the Iowa Association of Track Coaches.
Here is a quick breakdown of each of the varsity races set for Thursday afternoon
When: Thursday, 4:55 p.m.
Where: Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids
Teams: Linn-Mar, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Dubuque Hempstead, Waterloo, West High, Dubuque Senior, Liberty High, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Washington, Western Dubuque, City High, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Dubuque Wahlert
Last 5 Team Champs: 2017 – Cedar Rapids Prairie; 2016 – Dubuque Hempstead; 2015 – Cedar Falls; 2014 – Cedar Rapids Prairie; 2013 – Linn-Mar
Ranked Teams: 4A No. 2 Dubuque Hempstead; 4A No. 6 Cedar Falls; 4A No. 7 Cedar Rapids Prairie; 4A No. 9 West High; 4A No. 12 Cedar Rapids Kennedy; 4A No. 13 Dubuque Senior; 3A No. 7 Dubuque Wahlert
Ranked Individuals: 4A No. 2 Kolby Greiner, Sr., West High; 4A No. 4 Jack Pendergast, Jr., Cedar Rapids Prairie; 4A No. 9 Brandon Conrad, Sr., Cedar Falls; 4A No. 10 Jacob Green, Jr., Cedar Rapids Kennedy; 4A No. 11 David Holesinger, Sr., Dubuque Hempstead; 4A No. 14 Ben Hermiston, Sr., Dubuque Hempstead; 4A No. 23 Isiah Schaetzel, Jr., Dubuque Senior; 4A No. 24 Dylan Dolezal, Jr., Linn-Mar; 4A No. 25 Paul Schneidermann, Sr., Cedar Rapids Washington; 4A No. 26 Colton LaGrange, Sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie; 4A No. 29 Ryan Winger, Soph., Dubuque Hempstead.
Team title chase: Dubuque Hempstead settled for a runner-up finish last season after tying with Cedar Rapids Prairie for the top spot last season in Dubuque but is the favorite to win a second title in the past three seasons.
It will be the usual suspects chasing the second-ranked Mustangs for the top spot as defending champion Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Falls and West High all enter ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A.
Athlete to watch: West High senior Kolby Greiner will look to cap his career with a second consecutive Super Meet title.
Greiner cruised to the conference crown last season in Dubuque winning the boys race by more than 17 seconds.
The last time the Super Meet was run at Noelridge Park Greiner placed third as a sophomore in 2016 in a time of 15:45.85.
Breakdown: The field expands as the Super Meet returns to Noelridge Park with conference newcomers Western Dubuque and Liberty High joining the fold.
The new-look field has the same old field with tradition conference powers Hempstead, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Falls and West High expected to battle for the top spot.
West High hasn’t been better than four at the Super Meet in any of the past five seasons and is coming off a sixth-place finish a year ago but led by Greiner has the ability to break into the top three.
City High will be attempting to improve on a ninth-place finish from a year ago while Liberty High gets its first taste of what has become one of the premier meets of the season.
Greiner and Jack Pendergast of Cedar Rapids Prairie are expected to battle for the individual title. Greiner pulled away from Pendergast over the final two miles to win the season-opening Cedar Rapids Prairie Invite by more than 21 seconds over the Prairie junior in August.
When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
Last 5 Team Champs: 2017 – Dubuque Hempstead; 2016 – Cedar Falls; 2015 – City High; 2014 – West High; 2013 – Linn-Mar
Ranked Teams: 4A No. 5 Dubuque Senior; 4A No. 6 West High; 4A No. 12 City High; 4A No. 13 Dubuque Hempstead; 4A No. 14 Liberty High; 4A No. 15 Cedar Rapids Prairie; 3A No. 1 Dubuque Wahlert
Ranked Individuals: 4A No. 1 Ashlynn Keeney, Fr., Liberty High; 4A No. 2 Micah Poellett, Soph., Linn-Mar; 4A No. 3 Claire Edmonson, Sr., Dubuque Senior; 4A No. 7 Deniz Ince, Sr., West High; 4A No. 8 Lily Schmidt, Soph., Dubuque Senior; 4A No. 18 Rowan Boulter, Fr., City High; 4A No. 19 Reagan Gorman, Sr., Cedar Rapids Washington; 4A No. 22 Camille Mac, Soph., Liberty High; 4A No. 24 Makenzie Logan, Soph., Liberty High; 4A No. 29 Chloe Skidmore, Soph., Linn-Mar. 3A No. 5 Gabby Moran, Soph., Dubuque Wahlert; 3A No. 18 Aunna Huseman, Jr., Dubuque Wahlert; 3A No. 15 Alix Oliver, Soph., Dubuque Wahlert
Team title chase: Buckle up, this should be a good one.
Nearly half of the 15-team field is ranked in the top-15 including all three area teams that should weigh heavily into the team title chase.
Dubuque Senior is a slight favorite, entering as the fifth ranked team in Class 4A but West High should be right on the Rams’ heels.
The Women of Troy have finished, second, third and fourth the past three seasons after winning their last Super Meet title in 2014.
No. 12 City High is seeking to improve on a rare seventh-place Super Meet finish from a year ago after placing in the top five each of the previous four seasons.
Liberty High has the front of the pack firepower in freshman sensation Ashlynn Keeney and sophomores Camille Mac and McKenzie Logan to make an immediate impact in their first Super Meet showing.
Watch out for 3A top-ranked Dubuque Wahlert which has the talent to push for a top-five finish.
Athlete to watch: Keeney has been more than impressive in her varsity debut the Liberty High freshman has been spectacular this season finishing first in each of her varsity races.
That includes a win at the Naperville (Illinois) Invitational in a time of 17:08 and a victory over last season’s overall state champion Marie Hostetler of Mid-Prairie at the Solon Invite last month.
Breakdown: The team race is always the story at Super Meet which has long been one of the top girls meets in the state but the individual race this season is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory.
The top three individuals in Class 4A will battle as Keeney, Linn-Mar sophomore Micah Poelleett and Claire Edmondson of Dubuque Senior enter ranked 1-2-3 in the 4A rankings.
Keep an eye on West High senior Deniz Ince who has shown the ability to push toward the front of the pack while City High freshman standout Rowan Boulter will look for a strong showing in her Super Meet debut.
West High has long been among the top programs in the state and could use a strong Super Meet showing as a boost as it starts its traditional postseason ascent.
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