Meinecke qualifies for state: Freshman places 14th for Nevada girls at qualifying meet
PELLA -The Nevada girls pushed through a runner to the state cross country meet for the first time since the girls switched to 5-kilometer races Oct. 21.
Cub freshman Tori Meinecke qualified after a 14th-place finish at the Class 3A state qualifying meet held at the Central College course.
Meinecke completed the 5-kilometer course in Pella at 20 minutes, 23.88 seconds. Meinecke easily advanced to state, coming in 19 seconds ahead of the final qualifying time by Ballard’s Kate Huisinga.
“Tori came into the season as a freshman with a very strong work ethic along with being confident in competition,” Nevada head girls’ coach Shawn Crain said. “She also had a couple great upperclassmen work as role models in her first season. Kacie (Rewerts) helped get her started in the summer offseason workouts, and now Eleanor (Elliott-Rude) this season right through to the state meet as her training partner. Tori understands her season isn't over and plans to keep lowering her time and being prepared to run against the best in her class. I'm excited and happy for her, she's worked very hard and deserves this shot.”
As a team Nevada placed sixth out of 12 teams with 211 points. Top-ranked Ballard cruised to the team title with 24 points and Pella and Carlisle were the other two teams to qualify for state with 63 and 93 points respectively.
“We set a new team standard by taking off more than a minute from the previous (average time) mark,” Crain said. “That's an important team goal because it takes all five members to accomplish the mark. All seven girls that ran set new PRs, some were career marks. I'm very proud of all their efforts and hard work throughout the season.”
Elliott-Rude bowed out with a 33rd-place time of 22:02.96. Allison Kruzich ran a 22:30.15 to place 41st, Bridget Cahill took 57th in 23:36.69 and Grace Cahill clocked in at 23:55.37 to place 66th in the final race of her career.
Hannah Fritz and Natalie Barber also ran varsity for the Cub girls. Fritz took 74th in 24:38.34 and Barber 75th in 24:39.26.
The top three individual runners in 3A competed at the meet. Top-ranked Paityn Noe of Ballard won in 17:35.62, second-ranked Shewaye Johnson - also a Bomber - was runner-up in 17:49.53 and third-ranked Ainsley Erzen of Carlisle took third in 18:27.98.
In the boys’ race Nevada also placed sixth. The Cubs scored 177 points to beat Grinnell by 14 points and come in just five points behind Newton’s fifth-place score in the 13-team boys’ field.
“The course was flat and the competition was tough,” Nevada head boys’ coach James Mills said. “Our boys used that opportunity to post their very best times of their lives.”
Second-ranked Pella won the boys’ championship with 40 points, eighth-ranked Carlisle was second with 73 and seventh-ranked Mount Vernon/Lisbon was the final team to qualify for state with 81 points.
Senior Luis Lopez led the Nevada boys with a 26th-place time of 17:43.31. Teammate Owen Freeman was right behind him in 27th place with a 17:44.15 showing.
Freshmen Carter Holland and Rhett Harter ran respective times of 18:03.87 and 18:04.99 to place 34th and 36th. Sophomore Nick Frideres was 54th in 18:52.58 as the final runner to earn points for Nevada.
Freshman Rowan Steele took 61st in 19:13.75. Senior Elliot Frideres battled through an injury to come in 70th at 19:32.78.
“While Elliot wasn't 100 percent, I admire his grit to finish the race,” Mills said. “ What a great example for the rest of the team!”
Pella’s Tony Schmitz, ranked 30th in 3A, was the individual boys’ champion in 16:33.70. Carlisle’s Brandon Kesner took second in 16:44.54.
The Class 3A and 4A state meet competition has been moved up to Friday, Oct. 30 this year due to COVID-19 precautions. The 3A girls will start at 3:30 p.m. at Kennedy Park in Fort Dodge.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Ballard 24 points, 2. Pella 63, 3. Carlisle 93, 4. Mount Vernon/Lisbon 100, 5. Grinnell 189, 6. Nevada 211, 7. Bondurant-Farrar 215, 8. Knoxville 225, 9. Fort Madison 234, 10. Oskaloosa 238, 11. Newton 239, 12. Fairfield 287.
Boys: 1. Pella 40, 2. Carlisle 73, 3. Mount Vernon/Lisbon 81, 4. Fort Madison 156, 5. Newton 172, 6. Nevada 177, 7. Grinnell 191, 8. Ballard 202, 9. Oskaloosa 225, 10. Fairfield 230, 11. Bondurant-Farrar 246, 12. Knoxville 278, 13. Keokuk 433.
Individual results (5-kilometer) - Nevada
Girls: 14. Tori Meinecke, 20:23.88; 33. Eleanor Elliott-Rude, 22:02.96; 41. Allison Kruzich, 22:30.15; 57. Bridget Cahill, 23:36.69; 66. Grace Cahill, 23:55.37; 74. Hannah Fritz, 24:38.34; 75. Natalie Barber, 24:39.26.
Boys: 26. Louis Lopez, 17:43.31; 27. Owen Freeman, 17:44.15; 34. Carter Holland, 18:03.87; 36. Rhett Harter, 18:04.99; 54. Nick Frideres, 18:52.58; 61. Rowan Steele, 19:13.75; 70. Elliot Frideres, 19:32.78.