In perhaps one of the biggest early season invites in Iowa, the Dallas Center-Grimes boys’ cross country team bested the 14 team Gilbert Invitational field to open up the 2019 season.

Held within the confines of the ISU Cross Country course in Ames, the Mustangs placed all seven varsity runners inside the top 25 places. That included sophomore Aidan Ramsey who followed up a strong state track performance by placing first out of 279 total runners Thursday evening, clocking in a time of 17:02. His mile per mile pace was set at 5:29, just beating out Gilbert heavy hitter Griffin Ruba who placed second to Ramsey. Overall, the Mustangs peppered the top ten including Bradley Ramsey who placed fourth overall. Owen Pries came in and placed 15th overall with a strong performance to round out the top 15 finishers for the Mustangs

Not too far behind Ramsey was Mustang sophomore Jacob Ewers who placed sixth out of 279 runners. Junior Dawson Assink crossed the finish line in 20th and was closely followed by senior Gavin Petrak in 23rd and fellow Junior Blake Croushore in 24th to round out the top seven for the Mustangs.

One of the big focus points for Mustang head coach Matt Pries heading into the season was running as a group, something the team did very well with Thursday.

“Even though this can be an individual sport at times, we strive to succeed as much as we can as a team,” said Pries before the season. “When we had the most success last year it was because we had guys finishing near the top in bunches. That means kids are keeping a good pace through the middle of the race and finishing strong collectively. When you work as a team more individuals will have success and that’s what this team has been doing.”

Other strong finishes for the Mustangs included sophomore Jacob Storey finishing 33rd followed by senior Jacob Hochstetler in 36th place, junior Will Augspurger in 41st place, and sophomore Cael Wineland in 46th place.

Up next for the Mustang squad will be their first home meet of the season Tuesday, September 3 as they welcome in an eleven team field including Atlantic, Carlisle, Creston, Des Moines Christian, Des Moines East, Earlham, Johnston, Kuemper Catholic, Norwalk, Van Meter, and Winterset. The meet is set to begin at 5 p.m. beginning from the Dallas Center-Grimes Middle School.