Kelly captures first as Van Meter girls cross country takes third in Panora

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News
Clare Kelly off to a strong start Tuesday, Sept. 1 during the road meet in Dallas Center.

After quite some time off the competitive course, the Class 1A top-ranked Van Meter girls cross country team was finally back as they battled a 17-team field in Panora on Thursday, Sept. 17. 

Held on the grounds of the Par 3 Golf Course, four Bulldogs placed 30th or better as the team captured third overall in the Panorama Invitational. In total, Van Meter brought home a team time of 1:53:15 bested only by conference foes ACGC (1:53:22) and host Panorama (1:49:37). 

Among the many highlights on the night for the Bulldogs, sophomore Clare Kelly once again shone the brightest. Not only did she pace the Van Meter lineup once again, but led the entire 148 runner field. The winning time for Kelly came at 20:34, a full 20 seconds ahead of Panorama senior Ella Waddle in second-place. 

In total, four Bulldog girls earned top-30 finishes while two earned top-10 performances. The second top-10 finish for the Bulldogs unsurprisingly came from Mary Kelly. The fellow sophomore clocked in an eighth-place time of 21:35 and a pace time of 6:57. 

Freshman Maddie Waldorf came fresh off of a strong softball campaign and has shown up well in the cross country scene. On Thursday, Waldorf clocked in a season-best time of 23:36, good enough for 28th overall out of 148 runners. She was followed by former state meet qualifier Maya Herman who finished 30th with a time of 23:40. In all, all seven of Van Meter's runners placed inside the top-50 individual times. Eden Moore clocked in a season-best time of 21:53 for 33rd place individually while senior Matti Rebelsky placed 37th thanks to a time of 24:06. Last but not least, the Van Meter lineup rounded out with Claire Newell. the sophomore clocked in a time of 24:45 for 46th overall. 

Other strong finishes for the Bulldogs included Macy Blomgren, placing 58th with a time of 25:07, Eve Hyer in 76th with a time of 26:01, and Lily Thompson in 78th with a time of 26:03. 

With another successful outing under their belts, the Bulldogs will be looking to continue the momentum as they take on the ADM Invitational on Monday, Sept. 21. Start time is set to begin at 4:30 p.m.