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
Anna Potts is a junior involved in journalism at Atlantic High School. This is Potts’ second year going to AHS and also her second year in journalism. Exactly what does Potts do in journalism? She is involved in the newspaper and is one of the editors. Her favorite part of journalism is the First Fridays, the monthly celebrations for the entire staff. “Those are the best,” she said. She also said the worst part had to be taking the pictures. Potts' story she is most proud of that she wrote would be “my birth control story” which was about birth control becoming an over- the- counter medication. Potts was inspired to do journalism by her upperclassmen. She said for her upcoming years in high school she would like to “become a bigger role in the journalism department.” Potts is not just involved with school academics she is also part of softball,track, and tennis. Outside of school she reads her Bible, works on her new job at a law firm, and plays with her dog Loki. Best advice Potts has to give for us younger classes is “get involved with everything you can.” Story by Calianda Thompson

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