Junior high cross country teams capture top finishes at State

By Sabine Martin

The eighth grade men’s team placed first, while the eighth grade women’s team finished second at the junior high state meet in Ankeny on Oct. 15.  Both  seventh grade teams finished eighth.

The Washburn Classic in Ankeny is a fast, flat course that gives runners a full opportunity to run as fast as possible in the two-mile races.

Almost all of the men’s and women’s team members had a personal record at this meet.

“The adrenaline in me kept me going, and knowing my teammates were running with me felt good,” said Natalie DeGabriele, top five finisher for the women’s eighth grade team in the state meet.

Both teams had great seasons that were made up from hard work and team bonding.

For the men’s team, coach Kara Hulse said, “This team is so strong because they are friends outside of running and run together outside of practice.”

And the bonding paid off with results. “We had a group of five guys that were within 30 seconds of each other almost every race. We would always encourage each other and push each other during the race,” said Michael Goodenbour,  top five finisher for the eighth grade men’s team. “I remember that almost every race, there would be one guy who would sprint ahead during the middle of the race and make the other four guys catch him. This improved our times significantly and was a huge factor in our success this year,” he said.

The women’s cross country team meshed well, too. “A lot of positive attitudes and the shared desire to get better made this team work well together,” coach Joseph Brown said. “The second half of the season, we really started using one another make ourselves better.”

The top five finishers for each Cedar Falls team were

Eighth grade women: Emma Clark, Jules Fromm, Sara Goodenbour, Natalie DeGabriele and Katie Butler.

Seventh grade women: Taylor Kvale, Morgan Linck, Kendall Mallaro, Maddie Knock and Bailey Hartwig.

Eighth grade men: Joel Burris, Michael Goodenbour, Eli Smith, Cooper Olsen and Jack Jorgensen. Seventh grade men: Mason Niu, Xander Steele, Brayden Burnett, Salem Strohbeen and Simon Plassman.

For the men’s team, with a first place prize, the end of the season was particularly rewarding. “It is definitely worth the pain and tiredness and the hard work during practice and races when you can stand up there in front of the crowd with the state title plaque in your hands,” Goodenbour said.

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