Panther boys' improvement peaks during state meet

Aaron Loes (front) gets a hug from his sister, Anna Loes, at the end of the 2A boys’ race. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Aaron Loes leads the Panthers during the state meet.

Cole Cruise works along the state meet course.

David Titman competes for the Panthers.

Freshman Jasper Nietert runs at State.

Ben Barnhart completes his state meet run.

Zach Chapman (796) stays in front of an opponent.

Ryan Oswald rounds a turn.

Panther cross country runners (from front) Jasper Nietert, Lauren Lambert and Cole Cruise walk through a student-made tunnel Oct. 27 at Monticello High School. The tunnel was a sendoff for the teams as they headed to the state meet. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     One goal is to get to the state meet. Another is to run your best once you get there.

     The Monticello Panthers could lay claim to both achievements after competing in the Class 2A State Boys Cross Country Meet Saturday, Oct. 28 in Fort Dodge.

     Monticello finished 13th of the 15 teams in the race, but six of the seven Panthers posted season best times at the meet, including three personal records.

     “That’s what it’s all about,” Monticello coach Dan Sauser said, “having your best possible performance at the right time.”

     It was a close team race between the eighth spot and Monticello’s 13th. The Panthers totaled 251 points, while eighth-place South Hardin had 224.

     “It amounted to about 10 seconds per runner between eighth and 13th,” Sauser said.

     Senior Aaron Loes led the Panthers with a 29th place finish. After the race, Loes said he was proud both of his performance and the team’s.

     “We’re a young team, and there was some question as to, is the team good enough; are we able to qualify?,” Loes said. “They showed throughout every single week what they needed to do to improve, make Monticello proud and keep the tradition going.”

     Sauser pointed out the performance of sophomore Cole Cruise, who set a personal record 57 seconds while finishing 35th. The coach added that Cruise had the eighth-fastest time in the race among freshman and sophomores.

     “It’s great recognition for how much he has developed,” the coach said.

     David Titman ran 79th, Jasper Nietert 94th, Ben Barnhart 109th, Zach Chapman 117th, and Ryan Oswald 118th.

     Nietert and Chapman are freshmen, among just 15 freshman boys in the 2A race out of 135 finishers.

     “They gained a lot of valuable experience,” Sauser said.

     It was the 21st consecutive Monticello boys’ team to run at State, which is the longest active streak in any class.


Oct. 28

State Class 2A Meet

(at Fort Dodge)


     1, George-Little Rock/Central Lyon 79; 2, Mid-Prairie 93; 3, Tipton 143; 4, Sioux Center 149; 5, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura 169; 6, South Hamilton 178; 7, Williamsburg 179; 8, South Hardin 224; 9, Aplington-Parkersburg 230; 10, Unity Christian 233; 11, Des Moines Christian 235; 12, Sheldon 240; 13, Monticello 251; 14, Okoboji 272; 15, East Marshall 301.


(team placing in parentheses)

     29 (21), Aaron Loes, 17:19.9; 35 (27), Cole Cruise, 17:23.0; 79 (56), David Titman, 18:07.3; 94 (68), Jasper Nietert, 18:22.7; 109 (79), Ben Barnhart, 18:46.7; 117 (87), Zach Chapman, 19:03.5; 118 (88), Ryan Oswald, 19:04.6.



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