Ellens: Conference champ

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by Taylor Burns

“I feel awesome. I feel like I’m just where I need to be for Districts, and I’m ready for whatever comes next,” senior Chris Ellens said.

The sudden brisk air hasn’t stopped the PCM cross country team in competing hard in their meets. On Oct. 10 the Mustangs ran in Saydel at the Conference meet. There was success for both the boys and girls. The girls finished in fourth place out of nine teams with 123 points, 77 points off Collins-Maxwell-Baxter in third place. The boys finished in eighth place out of eight teams, but Ellens had success. He was the Conference Champion, taking 20 seconds off his previous personal record, running 16:40.

“I was excited. I was thinking I gave my all and did my best, and I was happy that I felt like I pushed myself the best I could. I didn’t think much whether I was going to win or not; I just thought about racing the people next to me,” Ellens said.

The next Mustang to come across the finish line was freshman Jason Stafford, running a 19:37, in 58th place. Juniors Caleb Peter and Brady North came in at 83rd and 84th place, running 20:52 and 20:54, respectively. Senior Mark Bruxvoort and freshman Jacob Cox weren’t far behind in 88th and 89th place, running 21:04s. Sophomore Branden Vanderpool ran a 21:44, coming in 104th place. Sophomore Carson Clark ran a 22:19 in 117th place. Junior Bradley McClellan ran a 22:29 in 120th place, and freshman Blake VanderKamp ran a 22:47 in 125th place. Freshman Cody Courtney ran a 22:56 with sophomore Payton Konek running a 23:08 in 128th and 135th place, respectively. The last three Mustangs to come in were Ayrton Breckenridge, Cooper VandeLune and Owen Hugen. They ran 24:39, 24:49 and 25:20 in 152nd, 154th and 157th place, respectively.

“The advice for state qualifying doesn’t change at all: ‘Do the best you can today, run your race, and believe in yourself,’” Head Coach Eric Karr said. “Currently Chris is sitting at second fastest time in our state qualifying teams, so we are expecting him to do his thing just like every other meet, and then we will start looking at the other state qualifiers.”

Sophomore Paytan Schut led the girls once again in 15th place running a 21:37. Sophomores Megan Towny and Kirstin Ives were right behind her in 23rd and 24th place, running 22:11 and 22:16, respectively. Junior Baylee Smith came in later, running a 22:52 in 34th place. unnamed-7.jpgSenior Rachel Stafford ran a 23:48 in 44th place with freshman Klaire Jungling and junior Ellie Steenhoek behind her in 47th and 49th place in 23:57 and 24:05, respectively. Freshman Katie Henkenius was the last of the Mustangs to cross the finish line in 120th place, running a 33:12.

“I think that I will probably have to step it up a notch and do better from last year for sure [at Districts],” Schut said. “I will have to motivate myself a lot.”

Both boys and girls will be running tonight at Central College to compete in the District cross country meet. The meet starts at 3 p.m. Come out and support your fellow Mustangs as they battle to go to State.

“To go to State, I have to stay competitive and focus on races and just run my race,” Ellens said.