ANKENY - Anyone who has followed the Anamosa middle school cross country programs this fall knew of the abilities the talented young Raider teams had.
But, to what extent?
That was the question that remained to be answered.
Until Saturday, Oct. 19.
The Anamosa seventh grade boys, led by Carver Reiss, Miken Wheeler, Nate Fischer, Seth Countryman and Kinnick Reiss, displayed that potential to its fullest guiding the team to a class 3A seventh grade middle school state championship in Ankeny.
“These kids have kind of run in the shadow of a very talented group of eighth graders all season long, and picked the perfect time to burst onto the scene and make a name for themselves,” said Raider cross country coach Ken Sunseri, as the Anamosa seventh graders finished with a 37-point total and defeated state runner-up Charles City by 10-point for the 3A title.
“We knew these kids just needed to get out fast and let their talent take over, and there were able to do that at the state meet. It was so much fun to watch everything come together for them and beat a very talented field of runners. We had just an 18-second gap from our first-place counter to our fourth. That is nearly unheard of in cross country and it wasn’t like something we actually planned for, but it sure worked out well.”
Carver Reiss led the way for the Raider seventh grade boys placing seventh overall with a time of 12-minutes, 46.4-seconds while Wheeler was 12th after his 13:00.2 clocking.
All four Anamosa counters placed in the state top-20 overall as Fischer was 14th after a 13:02.9 effort while Countryman added a 13:04.8 clocking that placed him 16th against the 84-runner field.
“I could tell even before the race that our kids had it in them to win this thing,” Sunseri said. “I was watching the runouts and I just had a feeling. The boys went out and did it. What a feeling. This is something that they will be able to hold on to for the rest of their lives. State champions. Not too many people get to say that, but we know there are a lot of good things ahead for this group if they continue to work hard and stay dedicated to the sport.”
Kinnick Reiss also made his way around the Ankeny course and placed 47th overall with a 14:17.8 clocking.
Along with Charles City, the Anamosa seventh graders also defeated Dallas Center-Grimes (48 points), Decorah (60), ADM (65), Solon (72), Nevada (122), Gilbert (144), Glenwood (154) and Clear Lake (161).
Solon’s Keegan Conway claimed the class 3A seventh grade boys’ individual championship crossing the finish line first with a time of 11:41.4.
The seventh graders weren’t the only Anamosa team competing at the middle school state meet in Ankeny, as the eighth-grade boys also competed placing 11th against a loaded 16-team field scoring 184 points.
Jack Troester, as he has all fall long, led the way for the Raider eighth grade boys posting a time of 12:08.4 that was good enough to place 17th overall against a 149-runner field.
Bryson Burnough added a 12:40.6 clocking that earned him a 46th-place finish while Easton Wheeler (58th, 12:52.7), Carter Kuehl (89th, 13:29.9), Ike Claussen-Tubbs (131st, 16:12.1) and Grayson Weers (139th, 17:53.2) also competed.
Dallas Center-Grimes claimed the middle school eighth grade boys’ class 3A state team title scoring 46 points while the Raiders defeated ADM (189), Center Point-Urbana (193), Decorah (230), Clear Lake (255) and Charles City (268).
The Anamosa team also had an outstanding individual performance at the state meet as well, as eighth grader Leah Sleep was clocked with a time of 14:12.8 in the class 3A girls’ race, which was good enough to place 25th.
“We’re building a program here and it’s success like this at this level that are the building blocks of successful programs,” Sunseri said. “Why not Anamosa? We have great athletes in a great community at a great school. I’m extremely excited for the future and looking forward to coaching these kids once they get to the high school level.
“They’ve got the right support system and great parents. Everything is in place.”
The success wasn’t just limited to the middle school state meet, however, as the Raider seventh and eighth grade boys competed at the River Valley Conference meet in Iowa City Tuesday, Oct. 15, where the combined teams turned in a phenomenal performance placing second against the nine-team middle school field scoring 44-points.
Troester was sensational placing fourth against the 85-runenr field posting a time of 12:32.02 while Carver Reiss just missed a top-10 time placing 12th overall with a 13:15.07 clocking.
Burnough (17th, 13:37.11) and Countryman (18th, 13:37.92) also added top-20 finishes for the Raiders while Jaret Jess (30th, 14:07.69), Kinnick Reiss (33rd, 14:13.37), Gabe Wilmoth (35th, 14:14.25), Cam Burgess (52nd, 15:08.51), Claussen-Tubbs (59th, 15:50.03), Mason Pultz (60th, 15:58.46) and Skylar Hollett (61st, 15:59.06) all took to the course in Iowa City as well for the Anamosa team.
The Raiders missed a River Valley Conference middle school team championship by a mere eight points as Northeast claimed the top spot scoring 36 points.
Anamosa defeated Mid-Prairie (63), Tipton (65), Iowa City Regina (76), Cascade (93), Camanche (118), Wilton (120) and Monticello (179).
Tipton’s Clay Bohlman topped the middle school boys’ field winning the conference title with a time of 11:29.55.
The Raider did have three participants in the league’s middle school girls’ race, as Sleep placed 12th overall with a 14:48.77 clocking while Jalyn Christensen (25th, 15:40.91) and Mickala Herrick (39th, 17:27.92) also competed at the extremely windy RVC event.
Mid-Prairie’s Danielle Hostetler claimed the girls’ individual middle school conference title with a 12:59.75 clocking.