Comets break-in new Wildwood XC course while hosting season-opening invite
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — One of the biggest differences with the new 5K course at Wildwood Golf Course from the course used for high school cross country races before is that there’s no more “déjà vu all over again.”
Thursday’s season-opening invitational hosted by Charles City — referred to as the “Early Bird Invite — consisted of one continuous winding course that utilized more of the city park.
“We wanted to eliminate some of the tight corners and avoid areas that often flood,” said Charles City boys head coach Ryan Rahmiller, who plotted out the new course. “Yeah, this one doesn’t have any double loops. I know as a cross country runner, you get bored by seeing the same scenery over again.”
The season-opening invitational doesn’t record team scores, and only gives medals to the top finishers.
“Everyone’s time is going to drop from this meet,” Rahmiller said. “So times don’t really mean that much, but this is still an important meet.
“It gives you an idea where you’re at. You can learn a lot from this meet and improve running strategies.”
Charles City had a top-five runner in both the boys and girls races.
In the boys race, Comet sophomore Jacob Vais earned a fifth-place medal with a time of 18 minutes, 19 seconds.
Finishing ahead of Vais were Waverly-Shell Rock sophomore Andrew Cummer, who was a wide-margin winner with a time of 17:29; followed by W-SR senior Logan McCullough (18:08); Denver senior Conlee Lvons (18:09); and W-SR sophomore Ethvn Chestnut (18:11).
Juniors Kiki Connell of Charles City and Emma Hoins continued their friendly rivalry as they battled neck-and-neck throughout the girls race. Hoins eventually won with a time of 19:44 — 4 seconds ahead of runner-up Connell.
Rounding out the top five were the Denver trio or Grace Beck (20:39), Chloe Ristau (20:52) and Amber Homan (21:00).
Times especially weren’t important for several Comet boy runners who were among the latter finishers. During the race, they stopped to aid a teammate who went down midway through the course and eventually needed medical attention.
Next Thursday, Charles City will host the Trent Smith Invitational at Wildwood GC. It will feature the Logan Luft Memorial Runs (middle school) and the TJ Houdek Memorial Runs (high school).
The invite and memorial runs are in memory of former Charles City cross country program runners who all died young in tragic accidents.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with our performance,” said Charles City girls head coach Amanda Rahmiller, who mentioned her team had two personal bests and got strong efforts from 17 girls who ran their first high school XC race.