Any one who has participated in competitive athletics knows difficult it is to win a championship. Off season training, year round strength building, overcoming injury and bad weather, self improvement, confidence, goal setting, competitiveness, and finally performance all go into the making of a champion. To become champion is an arduous task, but a real accomplishment. To repeat as champion is unusual. And threepeat--wow!
Threepeat is exactly what the ACGC boys' cross country team accomplished yesterday afternoon at its own Charger Invitational. For the third consecutive year, the Charger harriers captured the title in a field of thirteen high schools from western Iowa. With three runners in the top ten, including individual medalist Noah Nelson, and solid performances from the Charger fourth and fifth runners, ACGC took top honors with 70 points to outdistance runner up Red Oak which had 98.
With the thermometer reading 90 degrees, along with 25 mile an hour winds, the Chargers answered the challenge and came away with the coveted first place prize. Nelson won the individual title by running the five kilometer course in 18:05.74 to defeat runner up Ben Logan of Baxter by seven seconds. Ben Young turned a solid performance for ACGC, running the course in 19:56.25 to to take seventh place, with senior veteran Clay Billheimer right behind in eighth place at 20:00.77. Freshman Miles Kading came through with a twenty third place finish in 21:04.27, with soph Donnie Swanson in thirty first place (21:50.94) to round out the ACGC scoring.
Other ACGC runners (who did not figure in the team scoring), their times and places were as follows: Easton Benson (22:02.59, 35th); Eli Kading (22:08.69, 37th); Blaine Beeler (22:38.75, 43rd); Zander Kenyon (23:33.98, 50th); Nash Ayers (23:34. 97, 51st); Zach Moon (24:13.09, 63rd); Matt Hanner (24.29:08, 68th); Noah Sargent (24:52.50, 73rd); and Christian Nolte (25:14.53, 78th).
Meanwhile, the ACGC girls turned in a good performance of their own, finishing fourth in a field of twelve teams. ACGC had a team score of 90, just three points out of third place. Two Chargers finished in the top ten, as junior Kate Crawford finished fourth in 21:52.75 and senior Lauryn Embleton took tenth place in 24:11.19. Rylee Sloss was the number three ACGC runner, finishing seventeenth overall in a time of 25:36.90. Keely Vasey and Kenzie Reinhart rounded out the top five for ACGC with times of 26:33.28 (32nd place) and 26:35.69 (34th) respectively.
Also running for the Chargers, but not figuring in the team score, were Aubrey Chmelar (27:01.76, 40th); Kennedy Young, (28:20.15, 46th); Malena Rumelhart (30:36.67, 70th); Alyson Embleton (30:52.87; 72nd); Kendra Campbell (31:03.01, 74th); Regan Rumelhart (32:18.61, 76th);
and Belle Policky (31:25.85, 78th).
ACGC coach Colin Shawgo seemed very pleased when he said, "I would say that tonight really went well for both teams. The girls' race had a lot of tough competition, so seeing our team battle like they did was good. Because of our training schedule, and the time of the year, our girls had a lot of tired legs and they fought through that to still run well."
The Charger mentor praised his boys 'team with these words. "Super excited to see the boys take home the championship for the third year in a row. Noah, Ben, and Clay had great individual performances and our pack cleaned it up. This mix of veterans and young talent makes this a dangerous team down the stretchof the season."
Up next for the Chargers is the West Central Valley meet next Thursday, Sept. 27 to be run on the 5x80 golf course located south of the junction of I-80 and Iowa highway 25. The first race is scheduled for 4:30. GO CHARGERS!
GIRLS TEAM SCORING BOYS TEAM SCORING
Logan-Magnolia 64 ACGC 70
Panorama 71 Red Oak 98
Collins-Maxwell 87 Perry 119
ACGC 90 Mt. Ayr 122
Baxter 104 Mtnsdale-St.Mry 135
Perry 177 Bedford 174
East Union 179 Panorama 186
Red Oak 219 WCV 187
Mt. Ayr 231 Collins-Maxell 204
Mtnsdale-St. Mry 267 Baxter 204
EX-EHK 283 CAM 278
Bedford 302 Logan-Magnolia 281