Bo Hjelle proved rankings don't mean much at the state cross country meet on Saturday at Lakeside Golf Course.
Algona's No. 17 junior exceeded even his own expectations by placing sixth in the Class 3A boys race, clocking a mark of 16:13.3. Boone's top-rated Chandler Austin (15:05.6) easily repeated as champion.
"I had no clue if I'd be able to get in the Top-15," said Hjelle, who participated in cross country for the first time this fall. "I was really nervous on the way over to Fort Dodge, but I felt extremely comfortable the whole race. I really enjoyed running with the rest of my team, and we have a blast every time. My goal now for next year is probably to try and get in the Top-5 or better."
No. 30 junior Peter Hollinger (32nd, 17:02.9), senior Adam Poeppe (54th, 17:20.8), junior Loren Shellabarger (61st, 17:30.7) and junior Nathan Stumme (70th, 17:35.8) rounded out the Bulldog lineup. As a team, Algona was fifth with 148 points. Second-ranked Boone (69) took home top honors.
Hjelle, the 2013 North Central Conference gold medalist, was fourth at the district meet. This past spring, Hjelle was also fourth in the 3A 800 at state track.
Michael Bowden, a senior, finished 77th (17:46.8) in 3A for the Wildcats.
The No. 13 Titans were 14th in the 2A field, compiling 264 points. Top-ranked Monticello (63) earned a decisive victory.
Tanner Schrad (21st, 16:56.7), No. 16 Ryan Daisy (36th, 17:18.1), Zach Ludwig (59th, 17:42.1), Matthew Nieland (108th, 18:37.9) and Lucas Farrington (127th, 19:56.9) were all in action for the Titans.
Daisy, a junior, was previously 38th here as a sophomore and 63rd as a freshman.
No. 16 Tony Kollasch (19th, 17:12.0), Zach Kollasch (35th, 17:37.2), Tyler Schnurr (53rd, 18:02.0), Nick Bronk (67th, 18:19.4) and Jake Hamilton (102nd, 19:19.9) each ran for the No. 9 Golden Bears, who were ninth in 1A with 186 points. Top-ranked Denver (89) cruised to the title, while No. 1 senior Kyle Kehoe (16:17.4) of the Cyclones was the individual champion.
Competing in 1A for the 15th-ranked Eagles were No. 13 Noah Stephas (15th, 17:08.9), Carter Asche (46th, 17:50.7), Austin Weland (81st, 18:39.6), Colton Pickering (106th, 19:24.3) and Brett Maier (107th, 19:25.3).
As a team, Eagle Grove checked in 12th with 256 points.
Manson Northwest Webster
Seniors Jack Walstrom (25th, 17:24.7) and Alex Dangelser (34th, 17:29.9) represented the Cougars once again.
Walstrom finished 14th here a year ago, while Dangelser was 48th.
Last May, Walstrom was sixth in the 1600 and 10th in the 3200 at the state track meet in helping MNW to a second consecutive 1A crown.
Nick Grandstaff, a sophomore, placed 26th (17:25.2) in 1A for the E-Hawks.