Barker, Clippers Earn Runner-up Finishes at Bud Williams Invitational


Photo by Rob Howe

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – As Ben Robison reworked the meet schedule for his cross country team this season the Clear Creek Amana coach did so with a specific plan in mind.

That plan appears to be coming together for the perfectly at precisely the right time for the Clippers.

Class 3A top-ranked Clear Creek Amana had four runners finish in the top 12 in a runner-up team finish at the Bud Williams Invitational on Thursday at Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City.

Clear Creek Amana finished with 53 points, trailing only 4A sixth-ranked Pleasant Valley which won the team title with 39 points.

Liberty High was third with 71 points followed by host City High with 99.

“I am a huge proponent of seeing as many different teams as possible and this meet is a next level competition for us that we wouldn’t normally get going to a 2A or 3A meet,” Robison said. “This fits really well into the planning heading into championship season. It all just fits really nicely.”

Part of the schedule change for the Clippers this season included a trip to the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis last Saturday where Clear Creek Amana placed 24th in a field of 50 teams from around the Midwest.

The plan was for that big-meet experience to help the Clippers down the stretch.

So far that plan seems to be working.

Junior Brandon Barker led four Clippers that notched top-12 finishes on Thursday with a runner-up finish

“I think definitely it helped from a mental standpoint,” Barker said of the Griak meet. “There are so many people there and so everything else seems easy now in comparison. It was a tough course so a really flat course like this feels really good today.”

Pleasant Valley senior and Iowa recruit Max Murphy won the individual title in 15:43.53 and Barker was second in a time of 16:33.15.

Barker held off Pekin junior Brady Millikin who finished in 16:40.45.

“I was really happy with how I ran today,” Barker said. “At Griak I had a really good first two miles and then I kind of died off the third mile and so my mindset going in was that I was really going to need to push that third mile this time and going into that last mile I felt amazing today

The key for the Clippers on Thursday was depth.

The top five Clear Creek Amana finishers were separated by less than 25 seconds.

Four Clippers finished between ninth and 19 led by Nick O’Connor who was ninth in 16:47.28. Jack Sexton was 11th in 16:52.39, sophomore Gavin Zillyette was right behind in 12th at 16:53.2 and Caleb Alcorn was 19th in 16:58.06.

“Our whole goal this little stretch was to tighten up our spread from one to five and it’s really starting to come along,” Robison said. “They are practicing that way and it’s good to see it transition to a meet.”

Liberty High got top-six finishes from Jack Kinzer and Bowen Gryp on its way to a third-place team finish.

Kinzer was fourth in 16:40.69 while Gryp was sixth in 16:43.92.

“It started in the spring and the winter and the summer running with both of those guys,” Liberty High coach Josh Hildebrand said. “They had the right mindset and they have studied cross country as a sport and they are starting to pull some of the young guys with them.”

Peter Woodward was 17th in 16:56.41, Caleb Schillinger was 20th in 16:59.9 and sophomore Christian Montover finished 24th in 17:09.24.

“We told them to throw the times out and just go out and compete,” Hildebrand said. “I thought we did a good job with that today.”

Mitchell Wilkes placed 15th in a time of 16:55.2 to lead City High.

Bud Williams Invitational

At Ashton Cross Country Course

Team Scores – 1. Pleasant Valley 39; 2. Clear Creek Amana 53; 3. Liberty High 71; 4. City High 99; 5. Pekin 168; 6. Cedar Rapids Prairie 170; 7. Dubuque Senior 191; 8. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 200; 9. Clinton 238; 10. Ottumwa 262; 11. Durant 358; 12. Hillcrest Academy 381

Individual leaders – 1. Max Murphy (PV) 15:43.53; 2. Brandon Barker (CCA) 16:33.15; 3. Brady Millikin (PEK) 16:40.45; 4. Jack Kinzer (ICL) 16:40.69; 5. Colten Glosser (PEK) 16:43.49; 6. Bowen Gryp (ICL) 16:43.92; 7. Tarun Vedula (PV) 16:44.25; 8. Jack Meyers (PV) 16:46.64; 9. Nick O’Connor (CCA) 16:47.28; 10. Kole Sommer (PV) 16:48.19; 11. Jack Sexton (CCA) 16:52.39; 12. Gavin Zillyette (CCA) 16:53.2; 13. Grant Tebbe (PV) 16:53.7; 14. Eric Zabel (PV) 16:54.72; 15. Mitchell Wilkes (ICH) 16:55.2

Clear Creek Amana – 2. Brandon Barker 16:33.15; 9. Nick O’Connor 16:47.28; 11. Jack Sexton 16:52.39; 12. Gavin Zillyette 16:53.2; 19. Caleb Alcorn 16:58.06; 43. Daniel Henkle 17:52.47; 51. Peyton Stadler 18:07.24

Liberty High – 4. Jack Kinzer 16:40.69; 6. Bowen Gryp 16:43.92; 17. Peter Woodward 16:56.41; 20. Caleb Schillinger 16:59.9; 24. Christian Montover 17:09.24; 39. Ethan Keeney 17:46.56; 41. Gavin Keeney 17:47.71

City High – 15. Mitchell Wilkes 16:55.2; 18. Lance Smith 16:57.16; 21. Parker Max 17:04.35; 22. Truman Thompson 17:04.92; 23. Sullivan Hall 17:05.69; 27. Evan McElroy 17:11.58; 30. Lohman Provorse 17:14.25

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