Waukee girls cross country topples Marshalltown Invite
For the second straight outing, the Class 4A sixth-ranked Waukee girls cross country team captured a meet title as they battled the nine team Marshalltown Invite Blue Girls Division on Thursday, Sept. 10. The meet was separated into separate groups to help with COVID-19 concerns instead of the normal start settings. The varsity squad for Waukee ran in the Blue Division and it was all part of a who's-who type of meet with eight total top-15 ranked teams involved. Within the Blue Division itself, the Warriors were one of two ranked foes alongside tenth ranked Dubuque Hempstead.
"Marshalltown did a good job making this happening with COVID-19 keeping it safe to run for the girls," said Warrior head coach Abby Schmitz. "It wasn't the same as a normal meet but we're just grateful to be able to have the opportunity to run."
Within the confines of Marshalltown Community College, three Warrior runners earned top-10 times while four Warriors captured top-15 times. Waukee totaled a team time of 1:40:20.2, a full minute faster than second place Dubuque Hempstead.
Leading the way for the Warriors individually was junior Molly Bannister with a season-best time and place finish. In her best career time within the first two meets of a season, Bannister's mark of 19:31.9 placed her second out of the 84 runner field. That comes following a strong 2019 season in which Bannister captured a career-best time of 19:15 at state.
"For Molly, she came off of a strong season last year and is one who comes into the season in her own," said Schmitz. "She has embraced her potential and has put it to the test and it was great to see that in Marshalltown. She got out with Kelderman and her incredible speed helped carry her out."
Following exactly five seconds behind was senior Peyton Kelderman. Her time of 19:36.9 placed third overall across the entire meet. Class 4A's 13th-ranked individual runner once again helped to not only help herself out with a strong time, but helped out her teammates in the process.
"Peyton is such an amazing leader, we love that she goes out and sets such a good pace," said Schmitz.
The pack running style that has become synonymous with Waukee girls cross country was present yet again because just 18 seconds later, fellow senior Margaux Basart placed sixth overall. That came via a time of 19:54.4. She was another exciting point among many for coach Schmitz after the meet.
"For Margaux, we'er so grateful for her offseason work," began Schmitz. "Her strategy last night was to not go out as fast and keep a good pace with Peyton."
In total, all seven Warrior runners placed top-26 or better and the individual who followed Basart was Class 4A's 28th ranked runner Madison Judas. The junior placed 15th thanks to a time of 20:35.6 while fellow junior Mallory Drake clocked a season-best time of 20:41.4, which placed her 18th overall. The rest of the Warrior lineup consisted of Abby Kinney and Isabella Webb, who placed 24th and 26th respectively with times of 21:03.2 and 21:12.3. Webb's time of 21:12.3 marked the 10th best sophomore time of the meet.
Already in just their second meet of 2020, no Waukee varsity runner has placed higher than 26th in either meet. Among the stars who shined on the varsity scene, Waukee's depth was showcased with the JV runners who also impressed coach Schmitz for the meet.
"We have a lot of JV runners who are knocking on the door themselves and are doing so well," said Schmitz. "We have so many talented runners and that's exciting not just for right now but in the future as well."
The victory keeps Waukee without anything other than a first place finish so far in 2020. Next up on the docket for the Warriors will be another road trip, this time to Valley Southwoods Freshman High School on Tuesday, Sept. 15. They will take on a six-team field that will begin at 5 p.m.