CENTER POINT - The cream once again rose to the top at the Center Point-Urbana Invitational Tuesday, Sept. 24, but it was the performance from the rest of his girls’ team that had Springville-Central City cross country coach Steve Pershing particularly excited.
“Emily Staal was the girls’ champion on a soft, and in places, sloppy course,” said Pershing, as Staal, the second-ranked runner in class 2A, was her usual sensational self, topping Center Point-Urbana’s class 3A second-ranked Adrianna Katcher for the crown after winning with a time of 19-mintes, 24-seconds.
Katcher posted a time of 20:09 to claim runner-up honors.
“Katie Flitsch and Liz Stejskal were medalists with Emily and the team finished third overall despite Carrie Staal not being able to finish due to a twisted ankle suffered on one of the muddy spots. With only six runners, it put pressure on everyone to perform well in case there was an injury. I was very pleased with Isabel Guerero and Caydenze Schultz for picking it up when we needed it. I was also pleased to see the team run together through the first half of the race. After Emily, we were 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13 at the first mile. We still need to work on our second half of the race to be able to compete with the top teams though.”
The Springville-Central City girls are considered one of those ‘top teams’ as they sit just outside the state rankings as ‘teams to watch,’ and after another solid performance at the Center Point-Urbana meet, where they scored 71 points to place third against the six-team field, more attention could be coming their way.
Flitsch just missed placing in the meet top-10 turning in a time of 23:52 to place 13th overall while Stejskal was 16th after her 24:17 clocking.
Guerero (21st, 24:36) and Schultz (28th, 25:36) completed the team scoring for the Springville-Central City girls who defeated class 1A 15th-ranked North Linn (79 points), Cascade (108) and Hillcrest Academy (136).
“The most surprising improvement was by Isabel,” Pershing said. “Finishing 30th with a personal-best time. I’ve been waiting for her to run well for an entire race and this is the kind of performance that will give her the confidence to continue to make big improvements.
“Caydence ran one of her best races of the season too, despite losing a shoe early. Finishing fourth as a team demonstrates just how much this team has improved over the past few weeks.”
The Springville Central City boys scored 167 points to place seventh against a seven-team field that saw the host Pointers win with a 27-point total.
Evan Robertson, as he’s done all fall long led the boys posting a time of 21:01 to place 27th overall while Luke Frosch (34th, 21:13), Tryston Engen (35th, 21:14) and Matt Uhlenkamp (60th, 23:00) also took to the course for the team.
The Springville-Central City boys were a mere five points behind sixth-place North Linn (162) and just eight points shy of fifth-place Edgewood-Colesburg (159).
The team was back in action Saturday, Sept. 28, making their annual trip to Anamosa, where Emily Staal defended her title once again winning the Raider Invitational individual title with a blistering time of 18:44 on a soft and wet course.
Staal took off to a big early lead and never looked back topping the runner-up by more than 30-seconds while Monticello’s class 2A 29th-ranked Emma Althoff was third in 20:15.
The Springville-Central City girls once again ran in a pack as Guerero was second on the team and 30th overall after her 22:52 effort while Flitsch (31st, 22:58) and Stejskal (33rd, 23:03) all ran together.
Schultz (39th, 23:41) and Carrie Staal (40th, 23:50) also competed for the team who scored 130 points and once against defeated North Linn (146) as well as South Winneshiek (166), Cascade (168), Anamosa (173), Fort Madison (179) and Cedar Rapids Jefferson (200).
Class 3A 11th-ranked Solon claimed the Raider Invitational team title scoring 45 points while class 2A third-ranked Monticello was second turning in a 70-point total.
The boys’ race was loaded with state-ranked teams (four of them) and state-ranked runners (eight) as the Springville-Central City team tallied 323 points to place 12th against the 12-team field.
Robertson’s 46th-place effort and 19:26 clocking led the way while Engen (61st, 20:10), Uhlenkamp (74th, 21:25), Adrian Banowetz (77th, 21:41) and Jackson Robinson-Valley (83rd, 24:31) rounded out the Springville-Central City boys’ efforts.
“It was tough scoring with our No. 2 runner at a conflicting event,” Pershing said. “But, the rest of the team ran very well.”
Class 2A top-ranked Tipton topped the field scoring 36 points to defeat runner-up Calamus-Wheatland (89) and third-place Cedar Rapids Jefferson (94). Class 2A second-ranked Monticello was fourth in the team standings scoring 104 points while 14th-ranked Camanche (128) and class 1A sixth-ranked South Winneshiek (141) rounded out the meet’s top-6 teams.