Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
Two of the most successful teams in state cross country history reside in the Your Prep Sports area in City High and West High.
The top-ranked runner in Class 4A in Liberty High freshman Ashlyn Keeney is also in the area along with four ranked teams and seven ranked individuals. All of that makes the postseason an exciting time for area cross country.
That excitment begins on Thursday with state qualifying meets in all four classes with the top three teams and top 15 individual finishers earn trips to the state cross country meet on October 27 at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
Here is a quick look at all the area qualifiers involving area teams.
When: Thursday, 4 p.m.
Where: Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids
Teams: City High, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Clinton, Dubuque Senior, Western Dubuque, Linn-Mar, Muscatine
Ranked Teams: No. 4 Dubuque Senior; No. 13 City High; No. 15 Linn-Mar
Ranked Individuals: No. 2 Micah Poellett, Soph., Linn-Mar; No. 3 Claire Edmonson, Sr., Dubuque Senior; No. 4 Lily Schmidt, Soph., Dubuque Senior; No. 9 Reagan Gorman, Sr., Cedar Rapids Washington; No. 22 Rowan Boulter, Fr., City High; No. 23 Izzy Gorton, Soph., Dubuque Senior; No. 29 Chloe Skidmore, Soph., Linn-Mar
Team title chase: MVC Super Meet champion Dubuque Senior is the favorite in a state qualifier that features nine teams for the MVC.
City High, Linn-Mar, Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids Kennedy will all be chasing the Rams for the top spot.
Athlete to watch: City High freshman Rowan Boulter has impressed all season as the leader of the City High pack and will get her first crack at the postseason.
Boulter was seventh at the MVC Super Meet and fourth at the Mississippi Divisional meet last Friday.
Breakdown: City High has the longest streak of state meet appearances at 30 and for the second straight season the Little Hawks find themselves in a battle to keep that streak active.
Five teams are capable of competing for the three state meet spots and the Little Hawks are certainly one of those squads.
Dubuque Senior appears to have an edge on the rest of the field but City High, Linn-Mar, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Cedar Falls are all in the mix for the final two state meet spots.
At the MVC Super Meet Cedar Falls was fifth, Cedar Rapids Kennedy seventh City High eighth and Linn-Mar 10th.
City High finished 22 points in front of Cedar Falls at the MVC Divisional meet last week.
Where: Marshalltown Community College in Marshalltown
Teams: West High, Ames, Ankeny Centennial, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, Mason City, Newton, Waterloo, Waukee
Ranked Teams: No. 2 Waukee; No. 9 West High; No. 12 Ankeny Centennial
Ranked Individuals: No. 6 Peyton Kelderman, Soph., Waukee; No. 10 Deniz Ince, Sr., West High; No. 13 Camille Jackson, Jr., Ames; No. 16 Sydney Shaffer, Jr., Waukee; No. 26 Molly Bannister, Fr., Waukee
Team title chase: This figures to be one of the top battles for a team title as a pair of state title contenders match up in the state qualifier.
Second-ranked Waukee enters as the favorite but West High can never be counted out in the postseason.
Athlete to watch: West High senior Deniz Ince is looking for a strong finish to her senior season.
Ince was seventh at the MVC Super Meet and third at the MVC Valley division last week and should battle Waukee sophomore Peyton Kelderman for the individual title.
Breakdown: Few teams have rose to the occasion in the postseason more consistently than West High in 24 seasons under head coach Mike Parker.
West High has won 17 state qualifying titles over the last 21 seasons and has reached the state meet 23 consecutive seasons.
The Women of Troy should stretch their state meet streak to 24 straight this season and will battle CIML foes Waukee and Ankeny Centennial for the top three spots.
Where: Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf
Teams: Liberty High, Bettendorf, Burlington, Davenport Central, Davenport North, Davenport West, Dubuque Hempstead, North Scott, Pleasant Valley, Cedar Rapids Prairie
Ranked Teams: No. 5 Pleasant Valley; No. 8 Cedar Rapids Prairie; No. 14 Dubuque Hempstead
Ranked Individuals: No. 1 Ashlyn Keeney, Fr., Liberty High; No. 20 Malorie Lafever, Sr., Pleasant Valley; No. 21 Maddie Minard, Sr., Pleasant Valley; No. 24. Gabby Cortez, Fr., Cedar Rapids Prairie; 25. Laurdyn Meyer, Soph., Cedar Rapids Prairie; No. 28 McKenzie Logan, Soph., Liberty High; No. 30 Hannah Brown, Soph., Dubuque Hempstead
Team title chase: With three ranked teams and three more squads just outside the final rankings this qualifier sets up to be among the most competitive in Class 4A.
Fifth-ranked Pleasant Valley is the favorite but Cedar Rapids Prairie and Dubuque Hempstead both enter ranked and capable of battling for top three spots.
Throw in up and coming Liberty High along with Bettendorf and North Scott and as many as six teams are capable of competing for a trip to Fort Dodge.
Athlete to watch: Ashlyn Keeney just keeps on rolling. The Liberty High freshman remained unbeaten as a high school competitor winning the MVC Valley Division title by more than 30 seconds over second-ranked Micah Poellet of Linn-Mar last Thursday.
Keeney now gets a chance to prove herself in the postseason for the first time and enters as a big favorite to earn her first trip to the state meet with an individual title.
Breakdown: Led by Keeney and sophomore McKenzie Logan Liberty High has the front-end firepower to push for a spot at state but the Lightning will have to battle a tough and tested 4A field.
Liberty High finished in front of Dubuque Hempstead at the MVC Super Meet two weeks ago.
Where: Waterworks Park in Fairfield
Teams: Clear Creek Amana, Solon, Davenport Assumption, Central DeWitt, Fairfield, Fort Madison, Grinnell, Keokuk, Marion, Mount Pleasant, North Polk, West Burlington/Notre Dame, Washington
Ranked Teams: No. 10 North Polk; No. 11 Grinnell; No. 12 Solon
Ranked Individuals: No. 15 Ashley Bloomquist, Jr., Fairfield; No. 16 Emma Bock, Fr., Solon; No. 18 Mary Blanchard, Jr., Grinnell; No. 26 Morgan Jennings, Fr., Davenport Assumption
Team title chase: This one should be entertaining with as many as five teams capable of pushing for the top spot.
Solon is among the top team challengers as the Spartans seek to return to the state meet after missing a team berth a year ago.
A pair of state qualifiers from a year ago, North Polk and Grinnell will also be in the title hunt.
Athlete to watch: Freshman Emma Bock has led Solon all season and is coming off a runner-up finish at the WAMAC conference meet last week.
Now Bock will make her postseason debut as she attempts to help Solon return to Fort Dodge for the second time in three seasons.
Breakdown: Solon has a strong chance to return to the state meet though the Spartans will have plenty of competition with as many as five teams pushing for the three state meet spots.
No. 10 North Polk and No. 11 Grinnell will be in contention along with Marion, which finished 18 points behind Solon at last week’s WAMAC meet and perennial contender Davenport Assumption.
Clear Creek Amana senior Kaylie Barker was a state qualifier as a freshman and sophomore and will look to cap her career with a third state meet appearance.
Where: Kickers Soccer Park in Iowa City
Teams: Regina, BGM, Calamus-Wheatland, Cardinal, Columbus, Durant, Easton Valley, English Valleys, Highland, Fort Madison Holy Trinity, Iowa Mennonite, Keota, Lone Tree, Maquoketa Valley, Montezuma, Moravia, Moulton-Udell, North Mahaska, Pekin, Clinton Prince of Peace, Rivermont Collegiate, Sigourney, Starmont, Twin Cedars, WACO, Wapello, Wilton, Winfield-Mount Union
Ranked Teams: No. 2 Regina; No. 7 Pekin; No. 8 Starmont;
Ranked Individuals: No. 16 Cheyenne Shaw, Jr., North Mahaska; No. 17 Josie Voss, Fr., Regina; No. 21 Annalee Bartles, Soph., Regina; No. 26 Remi Duwa, Jr., Pekin;
Team title chase: Second-ranked Regina has been impressive this season while competing primarily against larger school competition and enters as the favorite in the team race.
The Regals are the lone qualifying team with two ranked individuals and have the benefit of competing on their home course.
Athlete to watch: Regina freshman Josie Voss will make her postseason debut following a strong regular season in her first varsity action.
Voss enters the state qualifier ranked No. 17 in Class 1A and should contend for an individual title.
Breakdown: Regina is seeking to return to the state meet for the second consecutive season after placing seventh in Class 2A last season.
The Regals have a new coach in Liam Hartley and the roster has undergone a renovation since last season but Regina is once again one of the favorites in Class 1A.
Pekin finished 10th at the state meet last season and will push the Regals for the top spot along with eighth-ranked Starmont.