Union XC steady through three meets in four days
October 3, 2019


Union cross country completed three meets last week as the Knights draw closer to postseason with several major goals in mind.

As previously reported in the September 28 issue of the Dysart Reporter, the Knights kicked off their challenging week at Denver on Monday, Sept. 23 with the girls finishing fifth and the boys third behind three top 15 placings. The team would turn right around and compete at Vinton-Shellsburg as the girls fourth overall and boys finished third again with three runners in the top 15.

Yet their biggest meet came on Thursday, Sept. 26 as they competed in the Spartan Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 28. In a combined JV/varsity field of 125 girls and 188 boys.

"We had a lot of PRs on Thursday and the kids seemed very strong," coach Justin Parson said. "If I had to look at those three meets in terms of body posture, I could tell Thursday was their best run and effort. The weather was gone and that evening was perfect for running."

The Union girls would place sixth as a team led by Ellie Rathe in 26th place with a time of 23:31, followed by Elle Hookham in 29th with a time of 23:36, Alex Hall in 31st with a time of 23:49. Emma Shirk in 32nd with a time of 23:54, Audrey Kline in 34th with a time of 24:06, Leah Kaufman in 40th with a time of 24:19 and Grace Asmussen in 44th with a time of 24:36.

"Ellie ran a good time with Elle to push her the whole way," Parson said. "I know Ellie is starting to feel better. Emma Shirk looked her best on Thursday. Alex Hall is a strong kid and I believe there's more upside to what she can do. The girls are overachieving right now and are showing they are capable of more than they thought."

For the boys, the meet marked their third top five placing of the week as they finished fourth overall. Lake LeBahn found tight competition in South Hardin's Kolby Winter for first, coming down to the final sprint in which LeBahn was edged out by a hair with a time of 16:10. Lane Hennings finished 10th overall with a time of 17:15, followed by Jon Bronner in 21st with a time of 17:43, Ryan Bowers in 44th with a time of 19:00, Asher Beerman in 46th with a time of 19:01, Jack Thomsen in 47th with a time of 19:03 and Nolan Miehe in 56th with a time of 19:24.

"I know Lake is likely disappointed, but we will have another chance at South Hardin at conference later," Parson said. "Nolan Miehe impressed me the most by cracking the top seven. He's another guy with a lot of upside to help us. I still think this team on the right day and mindset can compete to go to State as a team. "It's uncomfortable to run three meets in one week, but the kids need to learn what their limit is to continue to improve,"

Parson hopes the Grundy Center meet can be used as a measuring stick going forward due to both the host Spartans and South Hardin being in Class 2A alongside Union as they continue to prepare for the postseason and potentially facing both school in late October.

"Both schools have great boys teams and we want to close the gap between us and them. Hopefully we can work on being one of the last teams by getting our best out of the guys in the next three weeks."

The Knights next competed at Jesup on Thursday, Oct. 3, setting up a series of Thursday meets at Dike on the 10th, the NICL Conference Meet on the 17th and Districts on the 24th.


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