By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
For the second straight year, the Monticello boys cross country team amassed a perfect score, taking the top five spots and breezing to the team championship at the Tri-Rivers Conference Cross Country Meet Thursday, Oct. 11 at Fillmore Fairways.
The Panthers actually had the top six runners and seven of the top 12. Monticello has won every Tri-Rivers boys title since 2003, when it joined the conference – 10 championships in all.
Michael Melchert pulled away from his teammates to win the conference individual crown in 16 minutes, 33 seconds. The next five Panther runners – Dallas Lumpa, Ben Ahlrichs, J.J. Frawley, Nick Meyers and Tiler Streets – crossed the finish line within 29 seconds of one another. Matt Manternach finished 12th overall.
“I thought they went out and ran a solid race,” Monticello coach Dan Sauser said. “Winning the conference title was a goal, but we also wanted to play it safe on the hills. They still had an exceptional race.”
Melchert, Lumpa, Ahlrichs, Frawley and Meyers earned first team all-conference honors. Streets made the second team, and Matt Manternach earned honorable mention.
The Panther girls finished fourth, a placing that is a little misleading since some of the runners were held out as they recover from illness or injury.
“We were definitely running light,” Sauser said. “It wasn’t our best performance, but it was a good effort. It was a meet where we just needed to come out healthy so we can operate on all cylinders for the state qualifying meet.”
Ellen Schlarmann led the Panthers, finishing third overall to earn first team all-conference honors (top five), and beating her time from earlier this year on the same course by about 10 seconds. Jazmine Reynolds was sixth overall, beating her previous Fillmore time by nearly 20 seconds. For finishing in the second five, she earned second team all-conference honors.
It was the final meet for the junior varsity teams. The JV boys race was more like an intrasquad race, with Monticello fielding 24 of the 26 finishers. Anthony Kinley and Jordan Loes raced JV to determine which would take the seventh varsity spot for the state qualifying meet, and Kinley was the winner in 18:07. Loes was second in 18:23.
Rounding out the top five for the JV boys were Zach Holmes, Dearzae Fasnacht and Derek Manternach.
“It was really a privilege to coach this JV team this year,” Sauser said. “They were really the backbone of the team, pushing our varsity team to get better.”
The junior varsity girls were led by Kaela Weber, who was third overall in 19:37.
“A lot of them came back from injury just to run this race,” Sauser said. “We had 10 competing, which was the most we’ve had all year long.
“Kaela Weber really has found her place. She’s starting to get more confidence.”
State qualifier Thursday
Monticello will host a Class 2A state qualifying meet Thursday, Oct. 18 at the high school, using the course on which the Monticello Invitational was run in September.
The girls race will be at 4 p.m., followed by the boys race at 4:30 p.m. The top three teams and top 10 individuals in each race will advance to the state meet Oct. 27 in Fort Dodge.
(at Fillmore Fairways)
VARSITY BOYS TEAM SCORES
1, Monticello 15; 2, Cascade 66; 3, Edgewood-Colesburg 77; 4, Alburnett 100; 5, Starmont 120; 6, East Buchanan 150.
1, Michael Melchert, 16:33; 2, Dallas Lumpa, 17:09; 3, Ben Ahlrichs, 17:15; 4, J.J. Frawley, 17:17; 5, Nick Meyers, 17:27; 6, Tiler Streets, 17:38; 12, Matt Manternach, 19:34.
VARSITY GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1, Cascade 31; 2, Starmont 57; 3, North-Linn 62; 4, Monticello 64; 5, Springville/Central City 149; 6, East Buchanan 154; 7, Maquoketa Valley 193.
3, Ellen Schlarmann, 16:48; 6, Jazmine Reynolds, 17:15; 16, Natasha Eby, 18:10; 17, Kally Blake, 18:16; 22, Olivia Sunlin, 18:44.
JUNIOR VARSITY BOYS
No team scores kept.
1, Anthony Kinley, 18:07; 2, Jordan Loes, 18:23; 3, Zach Holmes, 19:02; 4, Dearzae Fasnacht, 19:20; 5, Derek Manternach, 19:23; 6, Brian Turnis, 19:42; 7, Ben Burds, 19:57; 8, Dalton Husmann, 20:25; 9, Jacob Bergman, 20:55; 10, Colton Halder, 21:02; 11, Ty Leibold, 21:25; 12, Kody Goettsch, 21:51; 14, Noah Steiner, 21:53; 15, Kyle Folken, 22:25; 16, Nick Chally, 22:25; 17, Donovan Recker, 22:30; 18, Dakota Steuri, 22:50; 19, Scott Stoneking, 23:05; 20, Clayton Tjaden, 23:09; 21, Ryan Holub, 23:51; 22, Amos Finger, 24:40; 23, Jordan Barker, 25:14; 24, Spencer Williams, 25:14; 26, Treyton Hanssen, 26:17.
JUNIOR VARSITY GIRLS
No team scores kept.
3, Kaela Weber, 19:37; 8, Abby Schmerbach, 20:32; 9, Katie Goettsch, 20:57; 11, Sammy Ahlrichs, 21:07; 13, Krysten Tighe, 21:20; 17, Taylor Reth, 21:59; 18, Nicole Stevens, 22:06; 19, Jaycie Nagel, 22:06; 22, Jordan Lambert, 23:26; 27, Kelsey Gearhart, 25:50.
PHOTO: Panther runners move together as a pack in the Tri-Rivers Conference Meet Oct. 11 at Fillmore Fairways. From left are Nick Meyers, Tiler Streets, J.J. Frawley, Dallas Lumpa and Ben Ahlrichs. (Photo by Pete Temple)