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LeBahn lone Knight to qualify for State XC
October 26, 2018

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The 2018 cross country season came to an end for the Union boys and girls teams during their district meet at Monticello on Thursday, Oct. 18, yet resulted in junior Lake LeBahn earning a spot at the State Cross Country meet on Saturday. Oct. 27.

"We knew Lake was going to be strong today and stepped up well today," coach Justin Parson said. "Today was a right step in the right direction for him to run well at State and be towards the front."

LeBahn qualified for State for the third straight year, clocking in at 16:48 at the Monticello course for fourth at the meet as teammates and Union students cheered at the finish line.

"He's a gutty runner and this year has been a little unusual for him not finding his rhythm," Parson said. "If I know Lake, he's going to put everything he has on the course and I won't have to worry if he still had anything left in the tank. I expect him to be top 10, top 5 if adrenaline kicks in."

While LeBahn feels his own personal goals weren't quite met over a season shortened by wet conditions, he confidently states he's ready for the final stretch of his junior year.

"I wanted to run in the 16s all season, but I didn't quite reach that," LeBahn said. "It's been an emotional year, but the season isn't over for me. Our teams really turned out well. In the end, they all kicked it in gear."

Madison Frush took the top placing for the girls, placing 32nd overall with a time of 22:53, followed by Emma Shirk in 46th place with a time of 24:10, Emily Miehe in 47th with a time of 24:13, Emma Carlson in 53rd with a time of 24:49, Alex Hall with a time of 24:53, Anna Smith in 55th with a time of 26:21 and Alexa Weber in 56th with a time of 26:23 . The team finished in 10th overall, but will return Frush, Shirk, Carlson, Hall and Weber next season, along with several athletes that saw time on varsity such as Jadyn Wiest, Carlie McNeal and Elle Hookham.

"Madi ran great today and ran her best time of the year," Parson said. "A lot of kids made their goals today in the best weather we've had all year long. We know where we are as a group and we went out to accomplish our marks."

The boys finished in ninth overall and will also return five of their seven athletes who ran in the qualifying meet. Behind LeBahn, Lane Hennings finished just outside of qualifying by placing in 25th with a time of 18:09, followed by Johnathan Bronner in 35th with a time of 18:36, Gavin Moore in 60th with a time of 19:36, Keegan Block in 68th with a time of 20:36, Hunter Kilma in 72nd with a time of 20:47 and Garrett Rottinghaus with a time of 20:48.

"Jon Bronner ran his best race all year, and we had a lot of people step up and do they best they could," Parson said. "We knew Lane Hennings would be close, but unfortunately fell on the wrong side of the cut mark. The boys are sitting in a really good position for next year. Points-wise, we are close with our group of juniors that keep getting better and better each year. With some commitment over the summer and someone stepping up as a leader, they could go a long way."

While neither team placed highly all year, PRs were a common occurrence between the boys and girls. Union will switch from playing golf in the spring to playing in the fall, which could affect numbers in cross country next season. However, Parson is looking forward to whoever returns to the team next year after a successful end of the season in his mind.

"A lot of positives came out of today," Parson said. "I know a lot of people might look at points and it won't look like we did well, but I know our kids did well today. You talk to them and you can tell they are working their best. I'm proud of them."

Seniors Miehe and Smith ran their final races this season for the girls, while seniors Kilma and Bronner are also set to graduate next May after posting their best times of the year. Kilma notably ran the 17-mile distance between Dysart and La Porte City for Homecoming this year. Smith originally did cross country because upperclassmen during her earlier years of high school recommended it to her and she "had a blast" that first year and kept running. Her goals for the final season were to work hard and Smith feels she did this by making varsity every meet.

"I wanted to have fun with my team for one last season," Smith said. "I feel that the girls team is super supportive of one another. Lot of the girls were close to each other in times and that helped push one another during meets and practice. I'm sad that it's over, but looking back over my three years, I had a lot of fun. This season kind of sucked because of all the rain, so it was especially sad because the season wasn't as fulfilling as past years. Overall, I'm going to miss everyone and the closeness I had with my teammates."

All will cheer on their teammate in LeBahn as he continues on his season at Fort Dodge for the State Cross Country meet on Saturday, Oct. 27.

"Obviously, I want to do better than the year before, yet I want to make some great memories at the State competition," LeBahn said. "It's been great to be a part of this team and family. I'll never forget this. I know a lot of people on the team have the ability to make it next. Watch for us at State next year."

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