The Clarinda high school cross country teams enjoyed quite a bit of success this fall and more talent is on the way.
The Clarinda middle school teams had loads of success as well with the girls finishing sixth and the boys 11th in Class 2A at the state middle school meet, which was held Oct. 17 in Marshalltown.
Kyle Wagoner led the Cardinal program all season. The eighth grader won every meet he competed in, most by a wide margin, until the state meet where he finished second in a time of 10 minutes, 8 seconds for a 3 kilometer distance.
Clay Bohlmann of Tipton outkicked Wagoner down the final stretch to win by eight seconds. The third place finisher was 23 seconds behind Wagoner.
“I didn’t know how I was going to do because I hadn’t raced any of those people,” Wagoner said, “but I knew there would be some competition. It was definitely my best race. I started off in the lead thinking I could start in front of everybody, then one kid (Bohlmann) came up behind me and we battled back and forth the whole race until about the last 300 meters. He had a better kick than me.”
The 10:08 was Wagoner’s best time of the season by about 45 seconds. He was quite excited with the result even after having someone finish in front of him for the first time all season.
Wagoner’s season victories included the Hawkeye 10 Conference meet, which was run on the same day as the high school conference meet, which he won by 41 seconds. He explained his mindset when he’s winning by a lot.
“When you start in the front you have to push yourself mentally,” Wagoner said, “because everyone is behind you. You have to know someone behind you wants to beat you and you’re racing yourself at that point.”
Clarinda high school coach Jane Mayer also coaches the middle school group and said even with all the success he has had so far in his running career, Wagoner is the most humble member of the team.
“Kyle was always the first person to congratulate his competitors at the finish line,” Mayer said, “and he cheered all of his teammates into the finish chute of every race. At practice Kyle encouraged all of his teammates by giving compliments to those running well or by giving encouragement to any athletes who were feeling frustrated. Kyle is always positive and never complains about any situation.”
Classmate Jared Fasnacht and seventh graders Morgan Manes and Ashton Honnold joined Wagoner to represent Clarinda at the state meet. Fasnacht was the next Cardinal finisher, taking 45th out of the eighth graders.
Landen Carson, Gavin McPhee and Jason Sullivan were other members of the boys middle school team this season.
Wagoner said he’s looking forward to the extra distance and being part of the high school group next season.
“I’m just hoping to really work this summer,” Wagoner said, “and be ready for that extra mile and then help them out and keep pushing so I can add to the team.”
The Clarinda girls middle school team placed fifth at the Hawkeye 10 Conference meet and sixth at the state meet.
Raenna Henke led the team most of the season. She was the eighth fastest eighth grader at the state meet and was sixth best at conference.
Maya Hunter is a seventh grader who placed 10th at the conference meet for the Cardinals. She was the 12th fastest seventh grader at state.
Callie King was the other one of the leading trio. She was the 10th fastest eighth grader at the state meet and finished 17th at the conference meet.
“One of the things that made the season so much fun,” Mayer said, “was that you could not always predict which girl would be our number one runner. Raenna finished first for us in five of the meets, but Maya surprised us by running number one at our home meet. Callie came in first for our team at the Panorama meet.”
Addison Moore, Kaedance Daly and Taylor Rasmussen were the other members of the team with Moore and Daly running at the state meet.
Overall, it was a middle school group of four girls and four boys that will join the high school team that returns all but two of its members this season, including three of the four state meet qualifiers.
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