If you were a fan of Waukee athletics, Thursday, Oct. 24 was quite the night for you as the Warrior girls and boys cross country teams captured state meet berths in Council Bluffs.
The Warrior girls captured yet another district crown with four top-five finishers and an overall team time of 1:39:57.35. That gave them a first-place finish and a ticket to the 2019 state cross country meet in Fort Dodge. The Warrior boys are also making their way back to state as they finished third overall with a team time of 1:27:09.11. Only Urbandale (second place) and Sioux City North (first place).
For the Waukee girls, all seven runners earned top-30 finishes out of a 62 runner field. After pacing the CIML-Iowa Conference field, veteran Sydney Schaffer nearly captured a second straight top finish, ultimately coming in at second with a time of 19:26.02. Schaffer was a huge component in a Warrior team that captured just 26 place points, the lowest mark by Waukee girls cross country team at state qualifying in program history.
“The girls had a lot of familiarity with this course and they used that to their advantage,” said girls head coach Abby Schmitz. “They did a great job of keeping a good pace and dictating the tempo rather than letting the pace or tempo of others dictate their performance.”
It was an emotional day for the girls’ squad and the senior group.
“For these girls to follow up their conference performance with what they did at state qualifying, that’s absolutely amazing,” said coach Schmitz. “Especially for the seniors. Sydney was such an inspiration getting out fast and maintaining such a strong pace. These girls are so amazing and for them to have this success, it means a lot.”
As was the case at the conference meet, Peyton Kelderman was next up for the Warriors as she clocked in a time of 19:47.02. There was another Schaffer senior to capture a top-five finish in Isabelle Schaffer. The senior followed up a top-ten conference finish with a fourth-place finish at Gale Wickersham Athletic Complex in Council Bluffs. Rounding out the top-five finishers was sophomore Molly Bannister who clocked in a fifth-place time of 20:02.06.
The rest of the Warrior field included senior Jessica Caraway with a 12th place finish (20:42.00) while Emma Shepard captured 26th place (21:18.72) with Ava Carder rounding things out with a 29th place finishing time of 21:52.15.
Within the Waukee boys’ roster, three runners came away with top-20 finishes while all of the top-seven varsity runners finished top 50 or better. As a team, the Warrior boys captured a third-place finish to qualify for state behind a team time of 1:27:09.11. Sophomore Kyle Ruby paced the way for the Warriors finishing sixth out of 61 runners with one of his better times of the season. That time came in at 17:01.65.
He was quickly followed by David Parks who continued his sophomore season strong by placing 12th in qualifying with a time of 17:08.68. One individual who has shown under the radar consistency has been Jacob Christensen. The junior took to the state qualifying meet strong and finished just as strong with a 19th place finish and a time of 17:31.17.
Following Christensen’s performance was fellow junior Vincent Hodges. Hodges placed 21st overall courtesy of a time of 17:35.06 while senior leader and state returner Jackson Smith clocked in a time of 17:52.55, good enough for 25th place overall. The rest of the Warrior boys’ lineup included junior Nathan Holstrom who placed 26th with a time of 17:55.06 and senior Tyler Stallman who rounded out the group with a 50th place finish (19:35.40).
Now that both teams have qualified, it’s off to the state meet in Fort Dodge on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Class 4A girls will begin the day and action at 11 a.m. while the Class 4A boys field will get started with their race at 11:30 a.m. from the Lakeside Municipal Golf Course.