SW girls take District title, Kruckman also on to State

Eryn Sabelka, the lone senior member of the No. 2-ranked Warrior girls’ cross country team, returned to the course last week as she placed 12th and helped South Winn capture the District title with 47 points. Sabelka crossed the finish line at 21:49.3. (Zakary Kriener photo)


SW girls take District title, Kruckman also on to State



By Zakary Kriener


On Thursday afternoon at Guttenberg Golf Course, the South Winneshiek girls’ and boys’ cross country teams both put forth gutsy performances that resulted in the No. 2-ranked Warrior girls and No. 13-ranked individual Isaiah Kruckman both qualifying for State!

Warrior girls

“Our girls have continued to compete at a high level. We had our share of obstacles this season with injuries and illness; however, this is one of the most resilient and mentally tough teams that we have ever coached,” said co-head coach Kevin Kearney after capturing the District title with 47 points. “They know they can count on each other as a team and whenever someone isn’t at 100 percent, someone else steps up. That is what we have done all year and it is one of our biggest strengths.”

The SW girls were lead by junior standout Billie Wagner who came home third and scored two team points for the Warriors with a time of 19:42.2. Wagner is currently ranked No. 4 in the state and finished behind No. 2-ranked Jalyssa Blazek (TV) and No. 3-ranked Haley Meyer (Kee).

Sophomore Josie Tieskoetter placed sixth with a time of 21:03.6 and earned five points for the Warrior girls, while senior Eryn Sabelka was 12th (10 team points) with a time of 21:49.3.

Also scoring for the first-place Warriors was freshman Karissa Wenthold in 16th with 14 points (22:06.4) and junior Anna Dietzenbach in 16th with 14 points (22:21.2).

Other competitors that will also make the trip to Fort Dodge this weekend as starting runners are Megan Hageman and Ella Willey. Hageman finished 20th in a time of 22:36.0 and Willey was 25th with a time of 22:48.4.

“We competed very well as a team and we put up a great team effort to secure a spot at State,” said Coach Kearney. “Individually, our district was easily the toughest in the state and the team race was likely the toughest as well. To put all seven of our runners in the top 25 was a great accomplishment."

Also qualifying for State as a team was Wapsie Valley, which scored 68 points and qualified for the first time in 20 years. In third was No. 9-ranked Kee with 69 points, which missed qualifying by just one point.

Warrior boys

On the boys’ side, the Warriors faced a tough field of competition and missed qualifying for State as a team by just one team spot. The boys scored 77 points and came in behind No. 3-ranked Maquoketa Valley (44) and No. 12-ranked Bellevue (61). South Winn did finish ahead of No. 19-ranked Clayton Ridge, which placed fourth with 106 points.

“We obviously would have liked to have gotten into the top two places and qualified as a team; however, the simple fact is we just ran into two really good teams which both ran great,” said Coach Kearney. “Our guys posted huge improvements across the board with several significant lifetime best performances. They gave everything they had, ran the best races of the season and their lives, and that really is all that you can do. They should be really proud of their efforts.”

While the team did not qualify, individual Isaiah Kruckman did punch his ticket as an individual by crossing the finish line fifth with a time of 17:05.3. 

“Isaiah continued a great season and will represent us on the boys’ side. He has worked as hard as any runner we have ever coached,” added Kearney. “He is dedicated and very determined and it is great to see him close out his season at State!”

Other SW runners to compete included Chance Adam (12th, 18:01.3), Omar Flores (13th, 18:07.5), Ethan Maldonado (17th, 18:34.0), Hunter Wagner (32nd, 19:22.3), Dayten Ondrashek (41st, 19:57.7), and Kyle Hageman (52nd, 20:30.4).

Previewing State

As for this weekend at the State Cross Country Meet at Fort Dodge, it Class 1A girls’ race will be at 2:30 p.m. with the boys’ race to follow at 3:15 p.m.

Coach Kearney offers a preview of what he expects to see Saturday.

“Our girls will have their work cut out for them. There are some really good teams with Logan Magnolia (No. 1) the clear front runner,” he explained. “Hudson (No. 4), Sumner-Fredericksburg (No. 6), Pekin (No. 3), and Fort Dodge St. Edmond (No. 5) will make for a deep field. Our goal is to do what we have done all year long. We want to continue to improve, we want to compete to our best, and we want to run as a team. If we do those things, it is really all we can do, and hopefully that will allow us to compete well with those other teams.”



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