Ellens finishes top three of 143 boys

by Taylor Burns

After placing fourth and eighth place at Conference just three days earlier, the Mustangs’ cross country team set out to Saydel to compete again on Oct. 15. The girls did better in this meet and placed third with 118 points out of eight teams. The boys placed ninth out of ten teams with 179 points, but junior Chris Ellens finished top-5 of 143 boys.
Seven of the top-15 girls were from North Polk, which helped them win the meet, beating PCM by 93 points, but the Mustangs fought hard, beating Nevada, Greene County, Pella Christian, Saydel and Perry. Junior Jayci Vos and freshman Payton Schut led the girls’ team within a second of each other in 16th and 17th place with times of 22:27.04 and 22:27.40, respectively. Sophomore Baylee Smith came in next with a time of 23:33.21 in 27th place. Freshmen Morgan Uhlenhopp and Sara Dudley finished in 39th and 40th place with times of 24:54.18 and 25:03.28, respectively, with senior Morgan Novak right behind them in 41st place in a time of 25:13.52. Junior Mallery Downey finished later in 67th placed with a time of 28:04.07. Senior Mallory Bell finished with a time of 31:04.95 in 79th place.
“This week we really start tapering out workouts. We are trying to keep what we have in terms of strength, speed, and endurance, but we want to be 100-percent on Thursday for qualifying,” Head Coach Eric Karr said. “We need to make sure we are mentally and physically rested and ready to give out best performances of the year.”
Ellens led most boys in third place and finished with a time of 17:52.81, just behind the second-place man who finished in 17:52.17. Next for PCM was sophomore Blake Lee, who finished in 19th place with a time of 18:56.35. Further back in the race were sophomores Brady North and Noah Henkenius, who finished in 63rd and 68th with times of 21:01.09 and 21:22.10, respectively. The next man finishing for the Mustangs was senior Andres Vargas, who finished in 21:57.44 in 86th place. Close behind Vargas were senior Max Van Gorp in 99th place, junior Braden Phifer in 102nd and sophomore Caleb Peter in 104th place with times of 22:41.25, 22:44.91 and 22:49.11, respectively. Sophomore Bradley McClellan came in with a time of 23:15.32 in 110th place, and kicking up the rear for PCM was sophomore Jonathan Heath in 136th place with a time of 26:31.34.
“All the training and hard work is finally coming into place. Looking ahead, we just have to focus on doing the best we can to our abilities on Thursday,” Ellens said.
Tonight, Oct. 22, you can take the nearly two-hour drive to Columbus to support our runners Districts. The meet will start at 4 p.m.