Panther girls claim state runner-up trophy after classic battle with Mid-Prairie

The state runner-up Monticello girls cross country team, first row from left: Gabrielle Steiner, Emily Schlarmann and Jordyn Patterson. Second row: head coach Dan Sauser, Paige Holub, Taylor McDonald, Rachel Larabee, Lauren Lambert, volunteer coach Bruce Novak and assistant coach Vallerie Lynn. The Panthers have earned two state championships and two runner-up finishes in the past four years. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Paige Holub crosses the finish line, finishing fourth. Holub had top-four finishes all four years at State, including two championships.

Taylor McDonald (left) works on passing an opponent.

Jordyn Patterson (257) outruns a pack of rivals.

Gabrielle Steiner competes for the Panthers.

Rachel Larabee runs down an incline.

Emily Schlarmann races for Monticello.

Lauren Lambert stays ahead of opponents.

The Monticello girls cross country team poses on the podium with its state runner-up trophy. From left are volunteer coach Bruce Novak, Paige Holub, Taylor McDonald, Jordyn Patterson, Gabrielle Steiner, Emily Schlarmann, Rachel Larabee, Lauren Lambert, assistant coach Vallerie Lynn and head coach Dan Sauser.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Three previous times, the Monticello girls cross country team had raced against top-ranked Mid-Prairie.

     The Panthers had gained ground since finishing 39 points behind the Golden Hawks at the season-opening Cedar Rapids Prairie meet Aug. 26. Monticello finished 26 points behind at the Panthers’ home meet Sept. 9, and 20 points behind in the River Valley Conference Meet Oct. 12.

     At the Class 2A State Meet Saturday, Oct. 28 in Fort Dodge, the Panthers and Golden Hawks staged a dramatic contest, with Mid-Prairie edging Monticello for the state championship by just seven points.

     “I was talking to Mark Hostetler (Mid-Prairie coach) after the race, and I said, ‘I wish we had one or two more races against you,’ ” Monticello coach Dan Sauser said. “We were just getting to the point where we were hitting our stride.

     “But our girls had the best race they’ve had all year. I couldn’t be more proud of what they did.”

     It was an outstanding effort for the Panthers, all seven of whom ran season-best times. And when Monticello’s fifth runner, Rachel Larabee, came in ahead of the fourth and fifth Mid-Prairie runners, it gave the appearance that Monticello would win the team title.

     But the fact Mid-Prairie had the top two runners in Marie and Anna Hostetler, and three of the top 10, proved too much for the Panthers to overcome.

     “They had an outstanding team,” Sauser said of the Golden Hawks. “To have three in the top 10 – that’s tough.”

     The Panthers were led by Paige Holub, who closed her high school career with a fourth place finish, giving her top-four finishes in all four of her state meets, including championships her freshman and sophomore years.

     “I’ve just had the best support through all my four years,” Holub said after the race. “It doesn’t feel like it’s over.”

     Sauser said: “It’s an outstanding credit to her talent. She’s been our anchor all year long.”

     The Panthers had a 16th place finish from Taylor McDonald, who ran a personal record by about 13 seconds. Jordyn Patterson topped her season best time by about a minute, and Rachel Larabee beat her previous season best by 1:35.

     “That was the Rachel we’ve had the last three years,” Sauser said.

     Those four, all seniors, were members of the Panther teams that won two state championships and were runners-up twice in the past four years.

     “This year’s seniors closed out on a high note,” Sauser said. “They’re quite a talented group, and they’re going to be hard to replace.”

     Gabrielle Steiner finished 21st, Emily Schlarmann was 50th, and Lauren Lambert ran 63rd, all with season-best times.


Oct. 28

State Class 2A Meet

(at Fort Dodge)


     1, Mid-Prairie 65; 2, Monticello 72; 3, WC-KP 103; 4, Crestwood 131; 5, Cascade 165; 6, Williamsburg 165; 7, Iowa City Regina 218; 8, Okoboji 240; 9, Waukon 242; 10, Unity Christian 259; 11, Emmetsburg 261; 12, Danville/New London 283; 13, Shenandoah 289; 14, Aplington-Parkersburg 318; 15, PCM, Monroe 356.


(team placing in parentheses)

     4 (4), Paige Holub, 19:03.0; 16 (14), Taylor McDonald, 20:09.3; 20 (15), Jordyn Patterson, 20:27.0; 21 (16), Gabrielle Steiner, 20:28.7; 32 (23), Rachel Larabee, 20:45.7; 50 (37), Emily Schlarmann, 21:07.9; 63 (45), Lauren Lambert, 21:34.5.





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