Humboldt sweeps at NCC XC meet

HAMPTON – The Humboldt girls cross country squad continued its dominance in the North Central Conference, winning a fourth consecutive league crown here on Tuesday.

Freshman Bryce Gidel also shined again, cruising to the individual championship. Gidel stayed unbeaten in 2016, winning her seventh straight meet title.

Gidel crossed the tape in a time of 19:26.

“Bryce hasn’t lost a race yet,” said Humboldt head coach Dean Clausen. “Gabby (Kent, her teammate) was the closest to her all season.

“It will be interesting to see at districts, because she’ll really be tested.”

The Wildcat boys made it a complete program sweep, grabbing the team championship as well.

The girls (33) finished 36 points ahead of Clear Lake (69). St. Edmond (75) was third, followed by Iowa Falls-Alden (86), Algona (97), Webster City (167) and Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (203).

“We’ve won it seven of the last eight years, but it gets down to having good kids,” Clausen said. “We’ve been fortunate to have them spread out to balance (the lineup).

“They’ve embraced the challenges. This is the first time that we’ve won four in a row.”

On the boys side, Humboldt (39) ended a 21-year drought, winning its first league gold since 1995. Clear Lake (59) was second and Webster City (61) was third.

Algona (102) was fourth, followed by Iowa Falls-Alden (110), Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (163), St. Edmond (205) and Hampton-Dumont (229).

Kent (20:00) was second behind Gidel in the girls race. Isabella Luu (21:05) placed sixth, Lauren Erickson (22:18) was 13th and Emily Schaffer (22:28) 14th.

St. Edmond’s Riley Mayer finished as an all-conference recipient with a seventh-place showing (21:15). Also for the Gaels, Abby Landwehr (21:30) was ninth and Audrey Kolacia (21:46) was 10th.

Rounding out St. Edmond’s scoring was Joeli Koenig (23:51) in 26th and Jaci Taylor (24:24) in 29th.

“Riley ran very well,” said St. Edmond head coach Mike Szalat. “We accomplished one of our goals: beating Iowa Falls-Alden, who had beaten us earlier in the year.”

Algona’s Morgan VanZante (22:39) was the highest-placing Bulldog in 12th. Webster City’s Larae Ebrecht was 23rd in 23:34.

Clarion-Goldfield/Dows’ best finish was from Katherine Lopez in a time of 26:01 (38th).

On the boys side, Humboldt’s Ryan Courtney (17:24) finished as the runner-up. Teammate Ivan Rasmussen was fourth (17:43).

Joseph Kunert (8th in 18:03), Denny Pederson (11th in 18:19) and Isaac Thurm (14th in 18:24) rounded out the Wildcat lineup.

“The boys have come on strong,” Clausen said. “Ryan did well, finishing second. They’re really excited to end the 21-year (NCC)?drought.”

Webster City’s Tyler Bultena (17:59), Dawson Hjelmeland (18:16) and John Plazynski (18:18) were seventh, ninth and 10th respectively.

Algona’s Trey Engen (17:51) crossed in fifth. Clarion-Goldfield/Dow’s Max Powers (18:48) placed 20th.

Competing for St. Edmond was Patrick Bocken (36th in 19:44), Cole Allison (38th in 19:44), Isaac Lursen (42nd 20:22), Jake Heidenreich (44th in 20:38) and Matt Bennett (45th in 20:38).

“The boys times improved for the most part across the board,” Szalat said. “The last time we ran we didn’t have Patrick, so it was good to have him back.”