FORT MADISON – Four Fort Madison area cross country runners finished in the top five at the Fort Madison Invitational Cross Country meet Thursday at Rodeo Park.
More than 600 student athletes competed in the event that featured varsity, junior varsity, and junior high boys and girls runners from all over southeast Iowa. FMHS’s Sierra Howardson took first place in the Girls’ A division, while Holy Trinity Catholic’s Matt Hellige took 2nd in the boys’ B division, and FMHS’s Aaron Steffensmeier and Dayne Cordray finished 3rd and 4th in the boys’ A divison.
Howardson’s time of 19:47.9 was a full 12 seconds ahead of Fairfield’s Ashley Bloomquist. FMHS’s Brett Schneider took third place overall in the race with a time of 20:50.4 on the 5K course that started on the airport road and wound through Rodeo Park. The FMHS team finished second overall to Fairfield with a team score of 52 to Fairfield’s 44. Scores are based on the top five places for each school with the lowest score winning.
Rounding out the race for the varsity girls, Elizabeth Miller finished in 10th place overall with a time of 22:47.2. Ashlyn Haas took 17th place with a time of 23:38.6. Sophomores Anna Kester was 21st with a time of 24:16.3 and Maddy McVey was 23rd overall at 24:18.5. Claire Hellman finished up for the Hounds in 29th place with a time of 25:11.5.
In the boys’ B division, Hellige took second place in a field of 12 schools and 80 runners. Hellige finished at 17:51.7, five seconds off the pace set by Wapello’s Aiden Housman who won the event. The Crusaders didn’t have another runner crack the top 20 and finished in 5th place as a team overall.
Blake Crabtree took 24th place overall in the B division for HTC with a time of 19:53.1. Senior Ben Abolt crossed the line at 20:22.8 good enough for 30th place overall. Jacob Mohrfeld took 40th at 20:47.0, and Adam Rauenbuehler took 45th place at 21:05.4. Sam Avery was 54th at 22:02 and Chandler Rung was 60th at 22:16.
In the boys’ A division, Steffensmeier’s and Cordray’s 3rd and 4th place finishes at 17:36.2 and 17:39.0 were good enough to give Fort Madison a 2nd place team finish in the division. Mount Pleasant’s Cody Mertens ran away with the event with a 16:39.4 time.
For the Bloodhounds, Nathan Steffensmeier, Noah Sissel, Elton Kruse, and Owen Kruse finished in a pack at 19th-22nd place. Steffensmeier crossed the line first at 18:56.9 with Sissel right behind at 18:58.7, then Elton Kruse at 19:12.1, and Owen Kruse at 19:13.8. The Bloodhounds’ score of 67 resulted by adding the total of the top 5 through Elton Kruse. Mt. Pleasant won the boys’ race with a score of 40. Miguel Trejo finished in 26th place overall with a time of 19.47.5.
FMHS’s Lauren King finished in the top spot for the Bloodhounds in the junior varsity girls’ run. King finished the race at 24:24.1. Hannah Reese of Washington took second, but then Paige Munson and Miho Shirai took 3rd and 4th at 25:01 and 25:18. Brittney Sanford took 6th at 25:41. Rachel Hellman and Lexi Miller finished 15th and 16th, respectively.
The boys’ junior varsity was dominated by Fort Madison with Shakir McClellan, Anthony Barnes, and Matt Meierotto finishing 1-2-3. McClellan set the pace with 20:12.4 with Barnes right behind at 20:14.5 and Meierotto at 20:16.6. Seth Mendez finished 18th. Holy Trinity got a 39th place finish from Josh Barnes, a 49th place finish from Kyle Scheetz, and a 51st place finish from Wyatt Hellman.
Fort Madison notched its third first-place finish on the girls’ side when Katelyn Dennis set the pace in the middle school girls’ run with a time of 15:14.2. Tauren Settles was 9th at 16:23.9. Emily Steffensmeier finished in 15th place, Isabella Boeding at 28th, Mylah Blanchard at 31st, Ellie Schulte and Lauren Otte finished 37th and 38th, respectively. Other runners for Fort Madison included McKenna Cashman – 40th, Breeann Walston – 42nd, Jordyn Boyer – 46th, Mary Hellige (HTC) – 51st, Elliot Dostalek (HTC) – 59.
For the boys’ middle school run, Holy Trinity’s Philip Goldie ran to a first-place finish with a time of 12:38. Austin Miller finished in 10th for FMHS with a time of 14:05.3. Hayden Wolf finished 12th with a time of 14:07.7. Dayton Davis and Miles Dear finished 16th and 17th for FMMS while Mikey Diprima finished 19th for HTC. Other local finishers in the middle school run included: Tyler Snaadt (HTC) – 24th, Emmett Kruse – 32nd, Xander Wellman – 35th, Ben Thele – 37th, Michael Hellman (HTC) – 40th, Jacob Pothitakis (HTC) – 49th, and Reiburn Turnbull – 53rd.