NORWALK – The Ballard boys’ cross country team produced a top-three finish and the Bomber girls took sixth out of 10 teams at the Norwalk Invitational Monday at the McAninch Sports Complex in Norwalk.
Competing against several larger schools, the Ballard boys scored 121 points to edge Newton (126 points) for third out of 10 scored teams in the boys’ competition. Dowling Catholic, ranked fourth in Class 4A, easily won the team boys’ team title with 25 points and a Pella team rated third in 3A took second with a score of 46.
Luke Kohut-Jackson turned in a brilliant individual showing at the McAninch Sports Complex for Ballard. He ran the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 44 seconds to place fourth out of 69 runners.
Dowling Catholic’s Ryan Schweizer won the boys’ individual title in 16:24. Pella’s Ben Warner was second in 16:30 and Dowling Catholic’s Spencer Clark came in third, just ahead of Kohut-Jackson, with a 16:41 showing.
Craig Jordan also had a big day for Ballard. Jordan came in 15th overall with a strong time of 17:43.
Bryce Snell, Quentin Luke and Kyle Schilling finished 31st, 33rd and 38th respectively as Ballard’s other scored runners. Snell ran a time of 18:56, Luke clocked in at 19:11 and Schilling completed the course in 19:29.
In the girls’ race Ballard scored 146 points to finish 16 points in back of Newton’s fifth-place score.
The girls’ field was loaded with top teams. A Dowling Catholic team rated second in 4A won with 37 points, Pella – the No. 3 team in 3A, took second with 59 points, another 4A team in Southeast Polk placed third with a score of 81 and a Winterset squad rated 11th in 3A took fourth with 129 points.
Abby Kohut-Jackson joined her brother in turning in a great individual performance at Norwalk. Kohut-Jackson ran the girls’ 4-kilometer race in 15:11 to place third overall going against elite competition.
Dowling Catholic’s Karissa Schweizer, the No. 2 runner in 4A, easily won the girls’ race with a time of 14:19. Newton’s Grace Coen, the No. 4 runner in 4A, finished just ahead of Kohut-Jackson in 14:59.
Dowling Catholic’s C. Vivian Broderick – rated 23rd in 4A – placed fourth in 15:19. Pella’s Tessa Roorda and Kelcey Blommers – the 10th and 6th-ranked runners in 3A – ended up fifth and sixth at Norwalk with respective times of 15:21 and 15:34.
Val Charter was the second-fastest Bomber on Monday. She ran a 17:05 to place 23rd. Rachel Watters and Ashley Meldrum both ran a 17:59 to place 41st and 42nd respectively for Ballard and Meghan Hirsch was the final scored Bomber runner with a 47th-place showing of 18:19.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Dowling Catholic 37 points, 2. Pella 59, 3. Southeast Polk 81, 4. Winterset 129, 5. Newton 130, 6. Ballard 146, 7. Indianola 200, 8. Carlisle 203, 9. PCM 237, 10. Norwalk 266.
Boys: 1. Dowling Catholic 25, 2. Pella 46, 3. Ballard 121, 4. Newton 126, 5. Winterset 150, 6. Carlisle 151, 7. Norwalk 165, 8. Earlham 217, 9. Indianola 243, 10. PCM 290.
Individual results – Ballard
Girls (4-kilometer): 3. Abby Kohut-Jackson, 15:11; 23. Val Charter, 17:05; 41. Rachel Watters, 17:59; 42. Ashley Meldrum, 17:59; 47. Meghan Hirsch, 18:19; 48. Jennie Huxford, 18:24.
Boys (5-kilometer): 4. Luke Kohut-Jackson, 16:44; 15. Craig Jordan, 17:43; 31. Bryce Snell, 18:56; 33. Quentin Luke, 19:11; 38. Kyle Schilling, 19:29; 40. Caleb Wuestenberg, 19:33; 45. Kaleb Wohlgemuth, 19:47.
PERRY – The Ballard girls’ cross country team took second out of 10 teams and the Bomber boys turned in a top-five finish at the Perry Invitational Oct. 3 at the Perry Golf and Country Club.
The Bomber girls scored 92 points to edge Creston by two points and Boone by eight for runner-up out of 10 scored teams. Dallas Center-Grimes, ranked 15th in Class 3A, won the team title with 78 points.
“The girls made progress finishing second in a state-qualifying (meet)-type field,” Ballard head coach Scott Barth said. “I am guessing most of our (state-qualifying meet) field was there.”
Abby Kohut-Jackson continued her phenomenal sophomore year with the individual championship. Ballard’s Nos. 2-7 runners had a solid 38-second gap, with the difference between the team’s second and fifth runners at a shade under 14 seconds.
“Abby ran an awesome race once again and the pack was 30 seconds closer to her than they were at Nevada (the previous week),” Barth said. “That gave us a much-better performance.”
Kohut-Jackson, the third-rated individual runner in Class 3A by the Iowa Association of Track Coaches, ran a 4-kilometer time of 15 minutes, 3.03 seconds. That time was nearly 27 seconds faster than the runner-up showing by 11th-rated Madison Waymire of DCG.
Val Charter turned in the second-fastest Bomber time as she placed 19th in 17:28.64. Talia Vespestad was 21st in 17:32.25, Ashley Meldrum took 23rd in 17:37.37 and Meghan Hirsch was 28th with a 17:42.12 showing as the other scored Ballard runners.
Rachel Watters clocked in at 17:48.03 to place 30th and Sarah Hugee was 39th in 18:06.48 as the other Bomber varsity participants.
In the boys’ race Ballard scored 145 points to beat Saydel by 13 points for fifth out of nine teams. Boone dominated the boys’ race with 31 points and Creston, Perry and DCG were close together in the next three spots with respective scores of 100, 108 and 111.
“The boys are also making progress,” Barth said. “We are currently missing our No. 3 or No. 4 runner in Jed Miller and have not had our entire boys’ lineup in over two weeks.”
Kohut-Jackson’s older brother Luke continued to set the pace for the Bomber boys. Luke completed the boys’ 5-kilometer course in 16:46.45 to place fifth individually.
“Luke ran a good race in a tough field,” Barth said. “He is coming back from an absence and ran a personal-record time.”
Craig Jordan gave Ballard a second top-20 individual time with a 17th-place showing of 17:58.43. Quentin Luke and Kyle Schilling were 39th and 40th respectively with nearly identical times of 18:51.71 and 18:51.96 and Bryce Snell was the final scored Bomber runner with a 48th-place effort of 19:10.55.
“The pack needs to move forward another 15-20 seconds and we would instantly move in front of another two or three teams,” Barth said. “That is what we need by conference and state-qualifying time. Getting Jed back should help that somewhat.”
Caleb Wuestenberg and Ian Fletcher were the other varsity runners for the Ballard boys. Wuestenberg took 55th in 19:28.97 and Fletcher was 65th in 19:47.66. Boone’s Albert Meier easily won the boys’ individual championship with a time of 15:19.56.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. DCG 78 points, 2. Ballard 92, 3. Creston 94, 4. Boone 100, 5. Newton 136, 6. Atlantic 147, 7. Carlisle 188, 8. Winterset 188, 9. ADM 221, 10. Bondurant-Farrar 238.
Boys: 1. Boone 31, 2. Creston 100, 3. Perry 108, 4. DCG 111, 5. Ballard 145, 6. Saydel 158, 7. Carlisle 169, 8. ADM 177, 9. Winterset 190.
Individual results – Ballard
Girls (4-kilometer): 1. Abby Kohut-Jackson, 15:03.03; 19. Val Charter, 17:28.64; 21. Talia Vespestad, 17:32.25; 23. Ashley Meldrum, 17:37.37; 28. Meghan Hirsch, 17:42.12; 30. Rachel Watters, 17:48.03; 39. Sarah Hugee, 18:06.48.
Boys (5-kilometer): 5. Luke Kohut-Jackson, 16:46.45; 17. Craig Jordan, 17:58.43; 39. Quentin Luke, 18:51.71; 40. Kyle Schilling, 18:51.96; 48. Bryce Snell, 19:10.55; 55. Caleb Wuestenberg, 19:28.97; 65. Ian Fletcher, 19:47.66.