AMES – Collins-Maxwell-Baxter junior cross country runner Mark Deutsch picked the perfect time to peak last Thursday.
With everything on the line, Deutsch stepped up and ran his second-best 5-kilometer time of the season to place sixth at the Class 2A state qualifying meet at the Iowa State cross country course in Ames. That qualified Deutsch for state.
“It was a really competitive district, so I was glad to be able to stay up there the whole time,” Deutsch said. “I’m super excited.”
Deutsch had gone through an up-and-down regular season. He started off strong as the lead Raider runner, but fell off for a couple weeks in late September and early October, trying to recover from an illness.
“In the middle of the season I wasn’t doing too well,” Deutsch said. “I was running the same times over and over and never had that breakthrough meet. But the last couple of races I thought I finally got to that point, and tonight I was glad to be able and finally peak.”
Deutsch completed the state qualifying race in 17 minutes, 28.29 seconds to earn his first trip to state. The top 10 individual performers move on to state and Deutsch’s effort was nearly 15 seconds better than the 10th-place time run by Fort Dodge St. Edmond’s Jacob Hamilton.
“Mark ran a great race from start to finish,” CMB head coach Jerry Meinerts said. “He contained himself at the start, where a lot of guys sprint out and try to get in that top-10 spot and then hold on. Mark was right in that top 15-20 range and then after about three-fourths of a mile, he worked himself into a top-10 spot and kept moving up from there.”
Familiarity with the course played a big part in Deutsch’s success. Deutsch had just run the ISU course at the Heart of Iowa Conference meet 10 days earlier and he was able to shave one minute off his conference meet time at the qualifying meet.
“I ran here three times my freshman year, I ran here last year – I’ve run this course a ton,” Deutsch said. “I know when to speed up and when I have to push it on corners. I know how to run this course and that definitely helped tonight.”
Deutsch said he is ready to run an even better time at the state meet in Fort Dodge this Saturday.
“I can’t wait to keep training harder and get prepared for state,” Deutsch said. “I watched my (former) teammate (Aaron Ward) run at state last year and it’s quite an experience. I’m really excited to participate in it this year.”
Gilbert’s Wesley Greder and Thomas Pollard finished first and second in the boys’ state qualifying race in Ames with respective times of 16:52.26 and 16:52.56.
Dike-New Hartford’s John Crew took third in 17:07.10, Forest City’s Chad Ullmann was fourth in 17:16.73 and West Marshall’s Nathan Bradley came in fifth at 17:22.91. Gilbert’s Bradley Richard took seventh in 17:33.54 East Marshall’s Nick Meling and Caleb Benzing took eighth and ninth with respective times of 17:37.97 and 17:38.52 to round out the state qualifiers from the meet.
As a team CMB took fifth out of 13 scored teams with 152 points. Gilbert won with 48 points, East Marshall took second with 68 and East Marshall was the other school to qualify for state as a team with a third-place score of 95.
“A fifth-place finish is pretty good when you look at the teams that beat us,” Meinerts said. “I couldn’t be happier for our guys.”
The only damper according to Meinerts was not being able to push first-year runner Colin Thompson on to state.
Thompson had been running right with Deutsch all season and he ran another great race at the qualifying meet. But the tough field prevented Thompson from getting through to state as he settled for 15th place with a time of 18:01.97.
“It’s a little bittersweet having one of your guys qualify and the other not make it,” Meinerts said. “I hate to see someone who worked so hard this season not get in. Mark and Colin have run great all year, finishing back and forth all season long, and I guess it was just Mark’s night.”
Calvin Jones took 31st in 19:04.02, Eric Hall-Flooden was 44th with a 19:39.88 showing and Brock Johnston came in 56th at 20:08.63 as the final scored Raider.
In the girls’ competition CMB placed fifth out of 12 scored teams with 148 points. Gilbert – the No. 3 team in 2A – cruised to the championship with 21 points, East Marshall was second with 97 points and Roland-Story took the final team qualifying spot with a score of 118.
“I’m really proud of how the girls ran,” Meinerts said. “They competed hard and ran some of their best times. The field was just too strong and deep for us to compete for that chance to run at state.”
Freshman Heather Jessen wasn’t far off from qualifying individually.
Jessen completed the girls’ 4-kilometer course in 16:36.29 – a 45-second improvement from her showing at conference – to place 13th. Jessen’s time was a little under 13 seconds behind the final qualifying time run by Roland-Story’s Sarah Lunn.
“I was really nervous – I had butterflies in my stomach – but once I started racing I was ok,” Jessen said. “I was happy with my time and where I was.”
After getting within striking distance this year, Jessen has a good shot at qualifying in 2014.
“I hope so,” Jessen said. “If I practice hard I think I will.”
Winter Brown also finished in the top 25 for CMB with a 23rd-place time of 17:13.50. Anna Jones and Chasity Moody took 31st and 32nd with respective times of 17:44.35 and 17:45.80 and senior Mackenzie Klemme occupied the final scoring spot for the Raiders with a 50th-place showing of 18:17.80.
Gilbert had the top four individual qualifiers in the girls’ race.
Grace Gibbons – the No. 1 individual in 2A – won in 14:55.55. Eighth-ranked Carly Rahn took second in 15:33.41, 24th-rated Karli Rastetter came in third at 16:01.28 and Sadie Timms finished fourth with a 16:03.28 showing.
The state coed cross country meet will take place this Saturday at the Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge. The meet will begin with the 4A girls at 11 a.m. and 2A competition starts with the girls’ race at 1 p.m.
Girls: 1. Gilbert 21 points, 2. East Marshall 97, 3. Roland-Story 118, 4. South Tama 131, 5. CMB 148, 6. Dike-New Hartford 150, 7. Clarion-Goldfield 170, 8. South Hardin 190, 9. Fort Dodge St. Edmond 207, 10. Hampton-Dumont 244, 11. West Marshall 252, 12. Central Springs 295.
Boys: 1. Gilbert 48, 2. East Marshall 68, 3. St. Edmond 95, 4. Dike-New Hartford 146, 5. CMB 152, 6. South Tama 154, 7. West Marshall 218, 8. Forest City 239, 9. Roland-Story 249, 10. South Hardin 254, 11. Central Springs 269, 12. Hampton-Dumont 271, 13. Eddyville 282.
Individual results – CMB
Girls (4-kilometer): 13. Heather Jessen, 16:36.29; 23. Winter Brown, 17:13.50; 31. Anna Jones, 17:44.35; 32. Chasity Moody, 17:45.80; 50. Mackenzie Klemme, 18:17.80; 52. Stephanie Twohey, 18:21.17; 57. Chantel Maxwell, 18:38.93.
Boys (5-kilometer): 6. Mark Deutsch, 17:28.29; 15. Colin Thompson, 18:01.97; 31. Calvin Jones, 19:04.02; 44. Eric Hall-Flooden, 19:39.88; 56. Brock Johnston, 20:08.63; 59. Lincoln Brown, 20:22.52; 64. Drake Caple, 20:30.75.