Breaking Down the Class 3A State Cross Country Meet

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Class 3A Boys

Where: Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge

When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Team Qualifiers: *Clear Creek Amana, Marion, Grinnell, *Gilbert, Atlantic, Glenwood, *Carlisle, Pella, Dallas Center-Grimes, *Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Humboldt, MOC-Floyd Valley, *Decorah, Dubuque Wahlert, Mount Vernon-Lisbon

Individual District Champions: Cody Mertens, Sr., Mount Pleasant; Rees Tyler, Jr., Gilbert; Josiah Wittenberg, Fr., Pella; Quinton Orr, Soph., Humboldt; Sam Kepford, Sr., Waverly-Shell Rock

2017 Team Top-Five: 1. Gilbert 75; 2. Dallas Center-Grimes 113; 3. Decorah 115; 4. Mount Vernon-Lisbon 145; 5. Grinnell 146

Last 5 Team Champions: 2017 – Gilbert; 2016 – Mount Vernon-Lisbon; 2015 – Mount Vernon-Lisbon; 2014 – Gilbert; 2013 – Boone

Returning State Placers: 6. Tyler Rees, Jr., Gilbert; 7. Gus Hayes, Sr., Decorah; 8. Cody Mertens, Sr., Mount Pleasant; 10. Nathan Patel, Jr., Gilbert; 11. Nate Mueller, Soph., ADM; 14. Harrison Vanderlinden, Sr., Marion

Area Individual Qualifiers: Gabe Hinman, Fr., Solon

Top Ranked Teams: 1. Gilbert; 2. Carlisle; 3. Clear Creek Amana; 4. Marion; 5. Decorah

Top Ranked Individuals: 1. Tyler Rees, Jr., Gilbert; 2. Cody Mertens, Sr., Mount Pleasant; 3. Nate Mueller, Soph., ADM; 4. Nathan Patel, Jr., Gilbert; 5. Quinton Orr, Soph., Humboldt

Ranked Area Individuals: 11. Jack Sexton, Jr., Clear Creek Amana; 30. Brandon Barker, Soph., Clear Creek Amana

Breakdown: Clear Creek Amana appears poised for a breakthrough in its third consecutive trip to the state meet.

After climbing from 14th in 2016 to 10th last season the Clippers return to Fort Dodge with a deep, talented and experienced lineup fully capable of pushing for the team title.

Defending champion Gilbert enters as the favorite bolstered by top-ranked junior Tyler Rees who will contend for the individual crown after a sixth-place finish last season.

Rees is one of three ranked runners for Gilbert which won last year’s title by 38 points and is seeking its third 3A championship in five years.

Clear Creek Amana expects to be in the pack pushing the Tigers along with second-ranked Carlisle, WAMAC rival Marion and Decorah.

The Clippers edged Carlisle in the only head-to-head meeting between the two teams this season and has gone back and forth with Marion.

The Indians won the WAMAC title by a point over CCA but the Clippers returned the favor with a win over Marion at the state qualifying meet last week.

Clear Creek Amana has depth but also boasts a couple of front of the pack runners in Junior Jack Sexton and sophomore Brandon Barker.

Carlisle has a 3A field-leading four ranked runners all appearing between 17th and 29 in the rankings.

The individual title could come down to Rees, Mount Pleasant senior Cody Mertens and ADM sophomore Nate Mueller.

Solon freshman Gabe Hinman will make his state meet debut as an individual.

*- State Qualifying meet champion

Class 3A Girls

Where: Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge

When: Saturday, Noon

Team Qualifiers: *North Polk, Grinnell, Solon, *Harlan, Glenwood, Atlantic, *Dallas Center-Grimes, Pella, Norwalk, *Ballard, Sioux City Heelan, Spencer, *Dubuque Wahlert, Charles City, Decorah

Individual District Champions: Mary Blanchard, Jr., Grinnell; Janette Schraft, Sr., Glenwood; Ainsley Erzen, Fr., Carlisle; Bryce Gidel, Jr., Humboldt; Adrianna Katcher, Jr., Center-Point Urbana

2017 Team Top-Five: 1. Dubuque Wahlert 72; 2. Pella 104; 3. Decorah 150; 4. Dallas Center-Grimes 157; 5. Charles City 177

Last 5 Team Champions: 2017 – Dubuque Wahlert; 2016 – Decorah; 2015 – Davenport Assumption; 2014 – Decorah; 2013 – Decorah

Returning State Placers: 1. Adrianna Katcher, Jr., Center Point-Urbana; 2. Mary Blanchard, Jr., Grinnell; 3. Gabby Moran, Soph., Dubuque Wahlert; 5. Bryce Gidel, Jr., Humboldt; 9. Megan Sievers, Sr., Carlisle; 11. Caroline McMartin, Jr., Pella; 12. Raegan Andersen, Sr., Denison-Schleswig; 14. Whitney Martin, Sr., Charles City; 15. Amber Aesoph, Jr., Sioux City Heelan

Area Individual Qualifiers: None.

Top Ranked Teams: 1. Dubuque Wahlert; 2. Ballard; 3. Dallas Center-Grimes; 4. Pella; 5. Harlan

Top Ranked Individuals: 1. Ainsley Erzen, Fr., Carlisle; 2. Adrianna Katcher, Jr., Center Point-Urbana; 3. Jannette Scraft, Sr., Glenwood; 4. Bryce Gidel, Jr., Humboldt; 5. Gabby Moran, Soph., Dubuque Wahlert

Ranked Area Individuals: 25. Kiersten Conway, Soph., Solon; 27. Emma Bock, Fr., Solon

Breakdown: Solon returns to the state meet for the second time in three seasons with an eye on improving on its 15th place season from 2016.

The Spartans have a pair of runners capable of pushing for medals with top-15 finishes led by sophomore Kiersten Conway who makes her second consecutive state meet appearance after placing 22nd as an individual qualifier a year ago.

Freshman Emma Bock will make her state meet debut ranked No. 27 and has shown the ability to push for a top 15 finish.

Dubuque Wahlert enters as the favorite to defend its state title with last year’s runner-up Pella and second-ranked Ballard among the top challengers.

With four of the top five finishers from last season returning along with the addition of top-ranked Carlisle freshman Ainsley Erzen the 3A individual race should be a great one.

Defending champion Adrianna Katcher of Center Point-Urbana, last year’s runner-up Mary Blanchard of Grinnell and Wahlert sophomore Gabby Moran are just some of the runners capable of pushing Erzen for the top spot.

Humboldt junior Bryce Gidel and Glenwood senior Jannette Scraft will also be in the mix.

*-State Qualifying meet champion