Seniors led Royal boys to successful season: C-N girls steadily improved in 2020

Joe Randleman
Nevada Journal
Senior Chevy Dunlap (left) and junior Ben Rouse were two of the top runners for a competitive Colo-NESCO boys' cross country team in 2020.

The Colo-NESCO boys’ cross country team had its best season in several years and the Royal girls showed steady improvement in 2020.

The Colo-NESCO boys finished in the top half of the final standings in five of their 10 meets during the season. 

The Royals won the Spartan Earlybird meet to start the season. They took second at the Colo-NESCO Invitational and placed third at Madrid, Colfax-Mingo and the Iowa Star Conference meet.

“We had a very successful season,” Colo-NESCO head coach Tony Stalzer said. “The boys competed at a high level at each meet. We got excellent leadership out of our seniors Chevy Dunlap, Jacob Reischauer and Ryan Wonders.  They have been an important part of our program for the last four years.”

Stalzer said after dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic plus the derecho storm that hit Iowa at the start of practices in August he was thrilled to be able to make it through the season and see his team record some big achievements along the way. 

“Winning the Collins-Maxwell meet was a high point and finishing third at our conference meet were highlights,” Stalzer said. “I think maybe the biggest highlight was just having a season and being about to finish the season without being shut down.”

At the ISC meet Colo-NESCO scored 63 points to come just 16 points shy of second place and 26 out of first. Reischauer was an all-conference runner with a ninth-place 5-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 32.27 seconds and Wonders just missed the cut with an 11th-place time of 18:56.05 and Dunlap also placed in the top 20 with a 17th-place time of 19:33.31.

That led Colo-NESCO into the Class 1A state qualifying meet in Guthrie Center. The Royals placed eighth out of 13 teams with 200 points.

Reischauer fell just shy of a top-10 finish, which would have qualified him individually for state. He ran an 18:41.27 to take 13th. 

Wonders was 37th in 20:07.14 and Dunlap 61st in 21:29.20 at the qualifying meet.

For the season Reischauer’s fastest time was 18:23 at South Hamilton. Wonders and Dunlap both peaked at the conference. 

“Our seniors did a great job in a difficult situation,” Stalzer said. “They have been outstanding leaders and we will miss them next year.”

The junior twin tandem of Ben and Alex Rouse also regularly scored points for the Colo-NESCO boys. 

Ben took 21st at the ISC meet in 19:38.95 and 48th at the ISC meet in 20:49.48. Alex came in 25th at the ISC meet in 20:10.57 and 53rd at the qualifying meet in 21:07.89.

Both ran their fastest times at the conference meet.

“I felt like we grew the most with our two juniors Alex and Ben,” Stazler said. “They were our four and five runners most of the season. They put a lot of time in this past summer and it showed.”

Freshman Drew Banks and junior Brad Thomas were the other varsity regulars for the Royal boys. 

Banks took 28th at the ISC meet in 20:31.87 and 58th at the qualifying meet in 21:21.09. Thomas finished 37th at the conference meet in 21:59.39 and 79th at the qualifying meet in 22:58.29.

Banks peaked at the ISC meet and Thomas ran his fastest time of 21:40 at South Hamilton.

“Junior Brad Thomas and freshman Drew Banks were first year runners for us,” Stalzer said. “They were excellent additions to our program.”

It will be hard for Stalzer to replace his senior trio next year. But there is promise with the runners he has coming back.

“With the core of runners that we have coming back and a couple eighth-graders coming up I expect to be very competitive next year,” Stalzer said.

On the girls’ side Colo-NESCO finished third at its home meet, fourth at the Spartan Earlybird and ISC meets and 12th at the qualifying meet.

“With this team being so young, it was a season of growth,” Stalzer said. “I was happy with how they worked together. Each meet was an opportunity to grow and I felt the girls did.”

The top runners for the Colo-NESCO girls were sophomores Callie Kohlwes, Katie Spalding, Maia Lundquist and Sarah Brinkman;  junior Hannah Jamison, freshman Annabelle   

Nessa and junior Mea Skinner. Freshman Gemma Bower was held out of competition due to an injury.

Kohlwes placed 17th at the conference meet in 23:25.38 and 35th at the qualifying meet in 24:21.87. Jamison was 25th at the ISC meet in 24:46.89 and 54th at the qualifying meet in 25:33.08.

Sophomore Callie Kohlwes was the lead runner for the Colo-NESCO girls' cross country team in 2020.

Spalding was 30th at the ISC meet in 25:32.32 and 56th at the qualifying meet in 26:53.78. Nessa took 32nd at conference in 26:01.69 and 64th at the qualifying meet in 26:35.44.

Lundquist finished 33rd at the ISC meet in 26:14.80 and 73rd at the qualifying meet in 28:09.60. Brinkman took 34th in 26:24.77 at the ISC meet and 69th in 27:38.04 during the qualifying meet.

Skinner placed 48th at conference in 32:10.69 and 85th at the qualifying meet in 33:37.85.

“Sophomore Callie Kohlwes was our leader with junior Hannah Jamison right behind her,” Stalzer said. “Sophomores Katie Spalding, Maia Lundquist and Sarah Brinkman and freshman Annabelle Nessa made up a solid core of runners and junior Mea Skinner was our seventh runner for the season.”

Every Royal girl ran their fastest time at the ISC meet.

“I thought the conference meet was a real highlight for us,” Stalzer said. “All the girls ran a very competitive race and it showed in our times.”

The Colo-NESCO girls have the potential to make big strides in 2021. The Royals don’t lose a single runner to graduation and Bower will be back on the roster.

“Gemma Bower was slated to be one of our top runners this year but was sidelined with an injury,” Stalzer said. “She will be back next year and she will make our team a different group of runners.  We are looking to get her back.”