Panther girls bolster hopes with strong effort

Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

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By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor

In the Western Dubuque Invitational, the Monticello girls cross country team faced a challenge.

It was not only the challenge of the other 16 schools competing for the title, but also the challenge issued by head coach Dan Sauser.

“Our plan was to try to have one more real good showing, because of the importance of rankings,” Sauser said.

With the district/regional assignments about to be announced, Sauser believed a higher ranking would give the Panthers a better chance for a fair assignment.

As it turned out, the Western Dubuque meet didn’t affect the assignments, because it was held after the most recent rankings came out. The draw was announced Monday, Oct. 1. The Monticello girls, ranked 13th, fared well; only one other ranked team (North Fayette, sixth) is in Monticello’s regional, to be held Oct. 18.

The Panthers girls ran like their ranking depended upon it, however. Despite starting the race with six runners and finishing with five, Monticello finished an impressive fourth in the meet.

“I thought the girls really responded,” Sauser said. “We did run light, but it was a good showing. A couple of them were not 100 percent, but they put in a very solid performance.”

Leading that performance was Jazmine Reynolds, who was 18th overall.

“Jazmine has stepped up to be our number one runner,” the coach said. “She made a huge jump over last year’s time. She improved by about two and a half minutes.”

Mandi Miles, Kally Blake, Natasha Eby and Olivia Sunlin followed. The five Panther runners were separated by 55 seconds.

“It was what we needed to see out of the girls,” Sauser said.

As for the boys, fans of the top-ranked Panthers saw what they usually see; a resounding victory. Monticello had five of the top six finishers and totaled just 17 points. Western Dubuque was well back in second place, with 120.

Even more impressive was the fact that the average time for Monticello’s top five runners was about 1:30 ahead of the average time of the second place Bobcats.

“It was not just the point total, it was the speed of the runners as well,” Sauser said.

Michael Melchert led the way in a time of 16:39. Ben Ahlrichs and J.J. Frawley rounded out the top three, while Dallas Lumpa was fifth and Nick Meyers sixth.

“This team is as solid as any team in the state,” Sauser said. “They’re not just talented; they’re deep. It’s a privilege to coach them, and they’re savoring every moment as well.”

The Panthers’ depth was emphasized by two facts: the boys JV’s total team time for its top five runners in the Western Dubuque meet would have placed them third in the varsity race. And Tiler Streets had a winning time of 17:24 that moved him up to the varsity squad, despite the fact Monticello’s seventh varsity runner, Jordan Loes, recorded a personal best.

Monticello drew two other ranked teams for the boys district race; seventh-ranked Center Point-Urbana and No. 10 South Winneshiek.

In the boys JV race, the Panthers took the top eight spots to win easily. Matt Manternach, Zach Holmes, Dearzae Fasnacht and Brian Turnis rounded out the scores that counted in the 15-point team total.

Monticello was seventh in the girls JV race, led by Krysten Tighe, who was 20th overall in 19:34.

North Linn next

The Panthers will close their regular season with a meet at North-Linn Saturday, Oct. 6. Race times are 8:10 a.m. for middle school boys, 8:30 a.m. for middle school girls, 8:55 a.m. for varsity girls, 9:20 a.m. for varsity boys, 9:45 a.m. for JV girls, and 10:15 a.m. for JV boys.

The Tri-Rivers Conference meet will be Thursday, Oct. 11 at Fillmore Fairways.

Sept. 27

W. Dubuque Inv.


1, Monticello 17; 2, Western Dubuque 120; 3, Bellevue Marquette 169; 4, West Delaware 183; 5, Cedar Rapids Prairie 189; 6, Cascade 197; 7, North Scott 209; 8 Durant 220; 9, DeWitt Central 221; 10, Maquoketa 225; 11, Dyersville Beckman 291; 12, MFL MarMac 303; 13, Anamosa 324; 14, Edgewood-Colesburg 336; 15, Bellevue 361; 16, Clayton Ridge 376; 17, Independence 419; 18, Calamus-Wheatland 500.


1, Michael Melchert, 16:19; 2, Ben Ahlrichs, 16:47; 3, J.J. Frawley, 16:50, 5, Dallas Lumpa, 17:00; 6, Nick Meyers, 17:04; 9, Anthony Kinley, 17:34; 11, Jordan Loes, 17:38.


1, Cascade 69; 2, Cedar Rapids Prairie 118; 3, Western Dubuque 118; 4, Monticello 131; 5, DeWitt Central 141; 6, Bellevue Marquette 142; 7, North Scott 164; 8, West Delaware 192; 9, Anamosa 196; 10, Durant 199; 11, Springville 297; 12, MFL MarMac 300; 13, Preston 377; 14, Independence 381; 15, Dyersville Beckman 396; 16, Bellevue 405; 17, Maquoketa 465.


18, Jazmine Reynolds, 17:10; 22, Mandi Miles, 17:20; 25, Kally Blake, 17:29; 27, Natasha Eby, 17:38; 39, Olivia Sunlin, 18:05.


1, Monticello 15; 2, Cedar Rapids Prairie 71; 3, Western Dubuque 79; 4, DeWitt Central 128; 5, Bellevue Marquette 130; 6, Dyersville Beckman 161; 7, West Delaware 171; 8, North Scott 219; 9, Bellevue 278; 10, Anamosa 294; 11, Independence 322.


1, Tiler Streets, 17:24; 2, Matt Manternach, 18:31; 3, Zach Holmes, 18:36; 4, Dearzae Fasnacht, 18:46; 5, Brian Turnis, 19:13; 6, Derek Manternach, 19:13; 7, Dalton Husmann, 19:26.


1, North Scott 59; 2, West Delaware 72; 3, Cedar Rapids Prairie 86; 4, Anamosa 87; 5, DeWitt Central 92; 6, Western Dubuque 96; 7, Monticello 197; 8, Dyersville Beckman 222; 9, Independence 256.


20, Krysten Tighe, 19:34; 39, Abby Schmerbach, 20:37; 44, Taylor Reth, 21:11; 46, Sammy Ahlrichs, 21:24; 48, Nicole Stevens, 21:37.

PHOTO: Monticello senior Kally Blake competes in the Western Dubuque Invitational Sept. 27. (Photo by Pete Temple)