Trojan Runners Make the Most of the Mud

The cross country teams competed at Grinnell for the first time this past week.


Halsey Bailey

ON YOUR MARK – Runners take off at the start line at DCG. Only varsity members ran for the Trojans at this meet.

Rain or shine, nothing seems to stop the Trojan cross country teams from competing. With a cancellation of the Clarinda meet due to weather and a last minute schedule change, they traveled to Grinnell with a showing of 15 teams, multiple ranked. The course was also moved the day of the meet from Ahrens Park to the grounds of the new elementary school.

Head coach Dan Vargason said he was not worried about the conditions of the course because the team has been training in the conditions. “Actually I think that makes it more memorable in my opinion,” Vargason said. Overall he was pleased with the results, considering the number of ranked teams and individuals present. To continue to compete at a high level with the consistency that the Trojan runners have shown is something Vargason said any coach would be happy to have.

A lot of kids showed that resilience to finish.

— Dan Vargason

Despite the hectic schedule and course conditions, the runners weren’t about to let a little mud get in their way of performing. “A lot of kids showed that resilience to finish,” Vargason said. The meet started with the varsity girls running first, going into the meet ranked #11 in 3A. They finished third with 98 points, just four behind first-place Pella and second-place Carlisle, who each scored a total of 94. Sophomore Taylor McCreedy led the girls once again, completing her race in 19:43.2 and securing a second-place finish. McCreedy said she “felt good and ready to run” before the meet but had to go slower than she would’ve liked due to the course conditions. Behind McCreedy came Karsyn Rush in 18th, Pluma Pross 21st, Ashley Wendt 24th, Madison Botos 33rd, Addie Dearment 34th and Abby Altman rounded out the varsity girls in 44th place.

Next up was the varsity boys, who left with a fifth-place finish behind three ranked teams. Crossing the line in 17:45.7 and third-place, senior Jalen Petersen was first for the Atlantic boys followed by the junior duo of Evan Brummer and Bradley Dennis in 14th and 17th, respectively. Zane Berg was the number four runner on the team in 48th ahead of Ethan Williams in 52nd. Cooper Jipsen and Nathan Brockman finished strong for the boys in the competitive field, placing 71st and 72nd.

Sophomore Katie Saluk started out steady for the JV girls and earned a second-place finish in 23:50.7 with teammate Heidi Williams just three seconds behind in third. Kelsie Siedlik finished 9th, Corri Pelzer 26th and Erin Wendt 28th. The JV girls also came out third as a team.

It was really muddy, wet, slick and sticky.

— Jackson Mullin

Even with the course taking a beating from three previous races, the JV boys made the best of it with high spirits and a positive attitude. “It was really muddy, wet, slick and sticky. It was fun though,” said junior Jackson Mullin. A pre-race chant of “JV, JV, JV” coming from all teams seemed to put the runners in an even better mood to end the day. The top seven finishers for the boys included junior Max Bateman in 12th with a time of 20:49.6, Clayton Jipsen in 34th, Caleb Spurr 38th, Isaac Altman 41st, Ben Andersen 49th, Drew Engler 57th and Tyler Roenfeld 61st, earning the boys a sixth-place finish. Several boys also lost shoes during this race due to the large quantity of mud they were forced to run through, two of which were Trojans. Senior Caine Page and freshman Draven Berry each completed the race with only one shoe but were both able to find the match to complete the pair again. “It tells you a lot about your kids when they lose a shoe and will continue to run the race without it,” Vargason said.

The runners will be back in action again Tuesday, Sept. 11 at AHSTW, races starting at 5 p.m.