Girls’ XC makes history

by Caleb Peter

The PCM cross country team had been long anticipating Oct. 20 at Pella. It was districts and the last chance for the runners to continue their season. The girls’ team qualified for state, placing third out of 12 teams. Junior Kirstin Ives was the only Mustang to qualify as an individual. Out of 83 competitors, Ives placed sixth with a time of 21:21. The top 15 individuals and top three teams advanced to the state meet. On the boys side of it, sophomore Jason Stafford was the top Mustang at 37th place. The boys’ team got 11th place.

The girls’ team is the first ever PCM girls’ team to qualify for state.  PCM has had four individual girls qualify in different years in the past, but never a whole team. The last time PCM had a cross country team at state was 2008, when the boy’s team placed second at state.

“It feels great to be on the team. It feels like we really accomplished the main goal,” junior Morgan Uhlenhopp said.unnamed-5.jpg

Usually, a varsity team consists of seven runners, but senior Ellie Steenhoek was missing because of sickness. Missing one runner only added fuel to the flame. Ives finished roughly a minute ahead of where the rest of the team was. Four of them finished in a tight pack. Junior Paytan Schut finished at 19th place with 22:26, senior Baylee Smith finished at 22nd at 22:42, and at 23rd, junior Megan Townley was a mere half of a second behind Smith. To top it off, sophomore Klaire Jungling finished 24th, 13 seconds behind Townley. Two minutes behind them, Uhlenhopp did her part. Uhlenhopp finished 49th with a 25:03, which is a seasonal record for her.  Uhlenhopp placed ahead of Grundy Center’s fifth runner, which helped the PCM score against their top competition for the third place position as a team.

“My thought going into the race was just, ‘run the best race you can today,’” Uhlenhopp said.

Uhlenhopp and the others knew they would have to run their best to advance. It was a very competitive district. The district team title was won by number-one ranked Mid-Prairie, and number-five ranked Williamsburg was second.  The PCM girls’ team was able to beat number-14 ranked Grundy Center.

Though the boys didn’t have as successful of a night as the girls, they still gave it their all. Stafford finished at 19:05. Freshman Beau Webb finished with a 19:54 at 56th place. Senior Brady North was behind Webb with 59th place, running a time of 20:09. Sophomores Jacob Cox and Cody Courtney finished within a span of 12 seconds, Cox finished 82nd with 21:05 and Courtney finished 85th with a 21:17. Senior Caleb Peter finished at 87th with a 21:34. Sophomore Ayrton Breckenridge finished at a 21:48 at 90th.

The girls will compete at Fort Dodge on Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. Are they nervous? Uhlenhopp thinks not.

“It’ll be just like any other race!”