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home : sports : sports Monday, November 20, 2017

10/18/2017 Email this articlePrint this article 
Sabers girls earn first top-five finish since 2012

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

VINTON - With a state champion returning to defend her conference crown, the most dramatic race for the girls at Thursday's WaMaC cross country meet occurred in the team standings.

Just 10 points separated the top four teams at the meet, but it was Benton who used three runners in the top 10 to take the crown with 88 points, four better than runner-up Marion and just eight ahead of third-place Solon.

Anamosa was fourth with 98 points, while Central DeWitt made its charge up the team standings to finish fifth in 117.

That was four spots better than the Sabers' finish the year before and is the team's top conference finish since the 2012 team finished fifth while running on its home course.

All seven Central runners produced their best times of the season, led by senior Julia Campbell, who scored her second straight top-five conference finish.

Fourth a year ago, Campbell took third this time with a clocking of 20:02 - more than 30 seconds better than her previous-best this season.

"Julia ran a terrific race," Central head coach Eric Olson said. "It was the most aggressive we've seen her this season - she was forcing competitors to run her race, and it is exciting to see a kid with her ability doing that at the end of the season."

Making their own splashes were sophomores Carly Small and Kyleen Irwin, who were the first finishers outside the top 10 with their times of 20:23 and 20:24, respectively.

That cut a minute from Irwin's previous top time and nearly two minutes from Small's.

"Kyleen and Carly were definitely turning heads by moving into that second-team all-conference level," Olson said. "We knew they were capable, and it was good to see them do it on a bigger stage like conference."

Two more sophomores, Alina Manvelova and Hannah Payne, added their season-best times - 21:32 and 22:31, respectively - to round out Central's fifth-place team score.

Balance helped a short-handed Central boys squad finish 11th in the team standings.

Running without ninth-ranked Will DeHaan, who sat out to rest an achy shin, the five Sabers point-scorers finished within 24 seconds of each other - the second-smallest spread at the meet.

Senior Ty Fischer led the way for the Sabers, finishing right at 50th with a season-best clocking of 18:17.

Sophomore Tanner Naeve added his season best - 18:31 - to finish 59th, and the Sabers next four finishers - Jacob Townsley, Carter Myers, Reece Eggers, and Brett Baxter - finished within five seconds of each other.

"Carter, Jacob, Ty, and Tanner have been running fairly closely all season, and it was good to see Reece join them," Olson said. "I think it bodes well for the district meet to have guys moving up like that and to have Will back."

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