Gruver, Smock lead Hawks at home XC meet

·4 min read

Sep. 18—LYNNVILLE — A trio of top 20 medalists propelled the Lynnville-Sully boys and girls cross country teams to a third- and fourth-place finish at the Hawks' home invitational on Thursday.

State-ranked Greenlee Smock and James Gruver each finished third in their respective 5K races to lead the squads.

"After so many great races Monday, it was going to be tough to expect more season or personal bests as all runners don't set PRs every time they race," L-S cross country coach Darin Arkema said. "So it's safe to say that maybe some were a bit disappointed in their times, but I certainly saw some strong efforts and good races out of our team."

It was the second meet in four days for the Hawks, and the annual Lynnville-Sully Cross Country Invitational at Diamond Trail Golf Club is much more challenging than the course L-S ran on in Pleasantville.

The Hawks also ran against tougher competition as the meet featured three ranked boys' squads and three individually ranked male runners.

"The field of 15 schools featured all 1A teams with the exception of 2A Pella Christian, which was 1A last year," Arkema said. "So it was nice to have a meet with schools our size and a number from our conference."

The L-S boys were third in the six-team field. The Hawks scored 75 points, which was six points better than Class 1A No. 18 Collins-Maxwell. Class 2A No. 11 Pella Christian won the meet with 39 points and 1A No. 9 North Mahaska scored 53 in second.

Lynnville-Sully (75), Collins-Maxwell (81), Southeast Warren (120) and Moravia (163) completed the field.

Gruver, who is ranked 19th in 1A, was third in the boys' 5K race with a time of 18 minutes, 9.2 seconds.

"James battled early for the lead with a Pella Christian top runner and then one from Collins-Maxwell but they pulled away during the second mile," Arkema said. "A significant improvement in time though from his 19-minute effort last season."

Zach Morningstar (18:41.4) and Hendrick Lowry (19:10.7) also medaled in sixth and 11th, respectively.

"Hendrick continues to impress in his first season, trying to keep that gap small between he and Zach," Arkema said. "He raced right up there with some ranked individuals and some all-conference runners from a season ago so he is on track for a good second half to the season."

The other three L-S boys were Ethan Dunsbergen (23:12.1) in 37th, Evan Fikse (25:21.2) in 47th and Will Conover (27:09.8) in 55th.

Class 2A No. 14 Kaden VanWyngarden of Pella Christian won the race in 17:25.7. Class 1A No. 18 Ethan Haus of Collins-Maxwell was the runner-up in 17:55.7.

Morningstar and Lowry came in ahead of ranked individuals. Both Hawks were faster than 1A No. 25 Ronan Jimenez of Southeast Warren and Morningstar also finished in front of 1A No. 29 Lane Harmon of North Mahaska.

"Zach had quite the week. He beat some individually ranked opponents at Pleasantville and repeated that feat again at home," Arkema said. "He ran 48 seconds faster than last year."

The Hawk girls were fourth with 78 points. Pella Christian gave the Eagles a clean sweep for the night, winning the girls' team title, too, with 48 points.

Collins-Maxwell (65), Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (66), Twin Cedars (109) and Iowa Valley (148) completed the field.

Class 1A No. 11 Smock finished third in the girls' 5K race in 22:30.5. Rylee Dunkin of Twin Cedars won the race in 20:58.2 and Pella Christian's Bailey Vos was the runner-up in 22:19.9.

Olivia Norrish (24:45.9) returned from an injury and placed 14th. Kendra Fikse (25:03.7) also medaled in 16th for the Hawks.

The rest of the Hawks' lineup included Laura Fikse (27:22.5) in 32nd, Corrina Rozendaal (27:43) in 34th and Brooke Conover (27:56.2) in 37th.

"For the girls, we had three top-20 medaling performers in Greenlee, Olivia and Kendra," Arkema said. "Laura ran well coming in as our fourth finisher. Those all helped pave the way for a fourth-place team finish but really not that far from second place Collins-Maxwell, which the girls beat at Pella."