The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School



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State Bound for the Senior Pair

Atlantic qualifies two individuals for the State Cross Country Meet.
Daniel Vargason
Bennett Whetstone and Claire Pellett show their awards for qualifying for the State Cross Country Meet. They will run Oct. 28 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

On Oct. 18, 2023, a new opportunity was paved for high school cross-country runners across Iowa. The Class 3A State Qualifying Meet was held in Winterset, Iowa for the Atlantic Trojans. This season, AHS is being represented at the state meet by seniors Bennett Whetstone and Claire Pellett. Both of these athletes have been out for cross country since seventh grade, so it’s no surprise that they will be attending the highest competition in the state. 

Whetstone placed 14th overall with a time of 17:21 at the qualifying meet, a leap from his season average of 18:13.  Whetstone remembers thinking he was just going out for cross country to experience that family feeling with his teammates one more year, and he was “ready to be done” until the state qualifying meet. “I pushed myself to a new level, and I accomplished more than I thought I would,” said Whetstone. Whetstone’s main competitor on the team, and someone who helped him qualify for state, was senior Alex Sonntag. “I ran against him the entire season, he pushed me through practices, and every meet we ran against each other,” said Whetstone. Sonntag is one of Whetstone’s closest friends, and his “biggest motivator ever, in any sport.”

I pushed myself to a new level, and I accomplished more than I thought I would,

— Bennett Whetstone

Pellett, who placed fourth overall with a time of 19:56, improved upon her season average of 20:07. She said her main goal wasn’t qualifying for state, but performing well at the state meet itself. This will be Pellett’s third year running at the state meet, making a statement run in 2022 placing 15th, and earning herself All-State honors. In the past couple of years it was “easier” for her to qualify for girl’s state cross country, so now Pellett’s focus is placing within the elite top 15 runners. “Over the past years, it’s definitely been Ava” who has pushed Pellett the most. Pellett gives her drive, and determination to Ava Rush, an Atlantic alum who now runs track at the University of Iowa. This year, however, without Rush, Pellett credits her teammates with the motivation that pushed her all season.  She said the amount of girls runners on the team has been tremendous to experience. “We have 24 girls out this year so having fun with them, and pushing all of us to go harder has been major for me,” said Pellett. 

On Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, these seniors will take the course for the last time and run for a state title. Whether you’re at the meet, or watching live updates, make sure to cheer for Whetstone and Pellett and congratulate them on their amazing effort.

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About the Contributor
Anna Potts, AHS Needle Editor
AHS Sophomore Anna Potts is a staff writer for Journalism. This is her first year being a part of the department. She joined journalism because of her special interest in writing, like putting her “thoughts into words,” and “socializing with people.” As of right now Potts has three published stories on AHSneedle, and is working on her fourth, as well as an editor bio. She also enjoys writing opinion pieces. In addition to this, this is Potts’ first year at AHS as she previously went to Exira-Elk Community School District in Elk Horn. “I came here for more academic opportunities.” Compared to her last school Potts feels that she has a lot more opportunities here at AHS and can be “pushed more.” In her free time outside of school she plays softball, reads, spends time with her friends and family as well as her pets. Potts has two brothers, Aiden (19)  and Trey (27), and two dogs named Ruby and Ollie.    By Trinity Christensen 

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