Clear Creek Amana Makes History With Runner-up Finish at 3A State Cross Country Meet

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

FORT DODGE – Prior to Saturday there was some debate as to the top performance in Clear Creek Amana history.

The case could be made for last year’s tenth-place state finish, a runner-up showing at the WAMAC meet this year or a district title last week as the most memorable moment in program history.

The Clippers ended that discussion for at least a year on Saturday.

Clear Creek Amana posted the best state finish in program history for the third consecutive season with a runner-up finish at the Class 3A state meet on Saturday at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.

“We are so happy with this I can’t even imagine three years ago that it would end like this,” Robison said. “I’m over the moon right now. I’m so excited.”

Clear Creek Amana had five runners finish in the top 21 in the team scoring led by junior Jack Sexton who became the first medalist in school history with a seventh-place individual finish.

“It feels good,” Sexton said. “We thought we were going to get third today and we exceeded our expectations. We are all so happy right now.”

It has been a steady progression toward the top of the 3A standings for the Clippers.

Clear Creek Amana was 13th at the state meet two seasons ago and upped that to 10th last season.

The big breakthrough came on Saturday as Clear Creek Amana finished 16 points behind top-ranked Gilbert which won its second consecutive 2A title with 64 points.

Marion was third with 102 and Carlisle was fourth with 128.

“Our goal this whole season was to come in here and compete with all the teams like Gilbert and Carlisle and Marion,” Clear Creek Amana junior Nick O’Connor said. “We want to come in here and get the job done and we did that today.”

Clear Creek Amana has utilized an effective pack running strategy during its three-year state meet climb.

That technique worked this season and was run to perfection on Saturday as the Clippers had four runners finish between 17th and 21st.

“The kids competed so well, they bought in and did everything we asked,” Robison said. “And the packed worked yet again today.”

Sophomore Brandon Barker led the tight Clipper pack finishing 17th in 16:56.7.

Senior Cole Liebe was less than two second behind Barker placing 18th in 16:58.5.

“We run really well together,” Liebe said. “We run next to each other and we slowly talk each other up a little bit as we are running and then we try to find a group to move up with.”

Sophomore Caleb Alcorn placed 20th in 17:04.2 and O’Connor was 21st in 17:07.9.

“Caleb Alcorn really stepped up in the middle of the race,” Robison said. “I’m really pleased how Nick O’Connor and Jack Sexton went out and really took the race by the horns.”

The state runner-up finish caps an impressive season for the Clippers that included the WAMAC runner-up finish and district title in its previous two meets.

 “It’s just our training, we’ve been locked in all week,” Sexton said. “We knew we had to be more focused than ever this week to take that next step and get a trophy today.”

The discussion of best performance ever for the Clipper program could be debatable again soon.

Seniors Liebe and Kaden McAreavy will graduate but the Clippers return five of the seven runners from Saturday including five of its top six.

“We had a very good last year for our seniors and it’s going to be hard letting them go but we have our sixth and seventh runners right up there in the pack so it should be good,” O’Connor said. “We plan to be back.”

Freshman Gavin Zillyette was 59th in 17:44.9 as the Clippers had three underclassmen in their top six.

“It certainly bodes well for the future,” Robison said. “It’s exciting.”

State Cross Country Meet

Class 3A Boys

Team scores – 1. Gilbert 64; 2. Clear Creek Amana 80; 3. Marion 102; 4. Carlisle 128; 5. Pella 182; 6. Dubuque Wahlert 188; 7. Dallas Center-Grimes 200; 8. Decorah 207; 9. Humboldt 241; 10. Sergeant Bluff-Luton 246; 11. Mount Vernon-Lisbon 255; 12. Grinnell 278; 13. MOC-Floyd Valley 283; 14. Glenwood 290; 15. Atlantic 350

Individual medalists – 1. Cody Mertens (Mount Pleasant) 16:03.1; 2. Quinton Orr (Humboldt) 16:10; 3. Nate Mueller (ADM) 16:12; 4. Luke Post (Center Point-Urbana) 16:15; 5. Rees Tyler (Gilbert) 16:17.1; 6. Nathan Patel (Gilbert) 16:18.2; 7. Jack Sexton (Clear Creek Amana) 16:21.5; 8. Harrison Vanderlinden (Marion) 16:21.5; 9. Josiah Wittenberg (Pella) 16:24.8; 10. Trey Engen (Algona) 16:31.6; 11. Cole Hemann (Marion) 16:32.7; 12. Brady Hogan (Decorah) 16:38.8; 13. Gus Hayes (Decorah) 16:42.8; 14. Sam Kepford (Waverly-Shell Rock) 16:43.2; 15. Bradley Ramsey (Dallas Center-Grimes) 16:44.1

Clear Creek Amana – 4. Jack Sexton 16:21.5; 17. Brandon Barker 16:56.7; 18. Cole Liebe 16:58.5; 20. Caleb Alcorn 17:04.2; 21. Nick O’Connor 17:07.9; 59. Gavin Zillyette 17:44.9; 79. Kaden McAreavy 18:08.5

Solon – 46. Gabe Hinman 17:25.8