CLEAR LAKE — The Humboldt boys have put together a special cross country season, and on Tuesday, it also became a record breaking one.
For the first time in school history, the Wildcats had repeat gold and silver medalists on the individual stand in Class 3A’s top-ranked Quinton Orr and Eric Wittrock.
“We three-peated the team title, so that was super exciting,” Orr said. “Humboldt has only done that once before so it’s cool to be a part of the team that did it the second time.”
It was special for the senior duo, as they led the Wildcats to just the second NCC three-peat in the program’s storied history.
The Wildcats have won four of the last five NCC crowns, and this was their seventh overall. They also won three straight in the mid-90s.
“It means so much to be able to win the team title,” Orr said. “The whole boys team works so hard, and it’s great for all of us to share in the success.
“Everyone on our team ran their best time of the year or within 10 seconds, so that is awesome.”
Orr, who hasn’t lost a race all season, crossed the finish line in 15:42, just ahead of his classmate Wittrock, who finished in 16:39.
This was Orr’s second NCC crown. He finished second as a sophomore and third as a freshman.
“It’s my second individual conference cross country title, so it feels great to capture this,” Orr said. “It was also fun to go one-two with Eric. We did it last year and this is the first time we’ve had two people do that back-to-back, so that’s super awesome.
“It’s a huge confidence booster for our whole team as we move to state qualifying. It’s super fun to win conference so we will enjoy it and then move our focus to getting back to state for the third time in a row.”
The Wildcats had 32 team points as they placed all five counting runners in the Top-15.
Clear Lake (62) was second, followed by Webster City (75).
St. Edmond (111) was in fourth. Algona (138) took fifth, followed by Hampton-Dumont (160), Iowa Falls-Alden (161) and Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (164).
“The teams that beat us are really good. We are the smallest school in the conference by far,” said St. Edmond head coach Mike Szalat. “What all of our kids did (Tuesday) was unbelievable.”
Trevor Jacobson (17:26) was sixth for the Wildcats, while Nolan Jergens (18:04), and Aiden Christensen (18:12) were 10th and 13th, respectively.
Webster City’s Jacob Willson (17:16) was fifth and teammate Matthew Perin (17:59) grabbed ninth. Jose Ramirez (18:06) was 12th and teammate Cole Reiling (18:19) was 18th.
St. Edmond sophomore Aaron Lursen was the top Gael, crossing in eighth place with a time of 17:42.
“Aaron went out with the third and fourth runners,” Szalat said. “I think he learned he can get out faster. We coach to be conservative, but I think Aaron learned what he is capable of.”
Grant Heldorfer gave SEHS another top finish, placing 15th in 18:16. The other top three runners for the Gaels were Ronnie Orres (22nd in 18:43), Devon Wirtz (27th in 18:51) and Hayden Mayer (39th in 19:30).
“Grant had one of the best races of his career. Grant is a real student of the sport, and he ran phenomenal,” Szalat said. “Ronnie is a really tough kid and had a gutsy performance.
“Devon has been fighting through some sickness and just keeps fighting. It’s encouraging to see him compete. Hayden had a strong race and Drew (Szalat) got closer to Hayden, which we need.”
Algona’s Ryan Stundahl had a strong performance, placing fourth in 17:14.
Isaiah Nebbe’s 11th place showing (18:06) was the top finish for Clarion-Goldfield/Dows.