Comet Kiki Connell bests her state medalist 5K time by 16 seconds
By John Burbridge
DIKE — Charles City junior Kiki Connell set a 5K personal-best while finishing in third place at the Dike-New Hartford Wolverine Cross Country Invitational, Tuesday at Fox Ridge Golf Course.
Connell’s time of 18 minutes, 48 seconds was 16 ticks better than her previous PB she set while placing sixth in the Class 3A Iowa State XC Championships girls race at the end of her freshman season.
The effort helped the Comets place second amid the 19-team field with 112 team points — 22 behind Wolverine Invite varsity girls champs Aplington-Parkersburg.
Rounding out the top seven runners for the Comets were Lydia Staudt (11th, 20:22), Mindi Neve (19th, 20:42), Monika Kacprzak (38th, 21:22), Lydia Thompson (49th, 21:58), Ingrid Hernandez (55th, 22:09) and Brianna Ross (58th, 22:18).
Aplington-Parkersburg senior Sophia Jungling, who placed fourth in last year’s Class 2A girls state race before winning both the 400 and 800 at the State Track and Field Championships, paced the 139-runner field with a time of 18:28, 1 second ahead of runner-up Ellie Meyer of IFA-AGWSR.
A bevy of PB’s were set by the Comet boys in their varsity race while placing third amid a 21-team field.
Charles City sophomore Jacob Vais was the first one in with a 16th-place time of 17:39 — 2 seconds better than his previous PB set last month at the Mason City Mohawk Invitational.
Vais was followed by a pack of Comets who recorded low placement scores in rapid succession while setting PB’s and/or season-bests themselves — Phillip Bachman (23rd, 17:56), Luke Smith (25th, 18:02), Zach Graeser (26th, 18:03) and Alex Bauer (27th, 18:04).
Clayton Rand (33rd, 18:13) and Bronson Forsyth (45th, 18:31) rounded out the top seven for the Comets.
Lake LeBahn of Union won the boys varsity race with a time of 16:14.
Denver was the boys team champs with 61 team points. Runner-up Grundy Center’s team total of 110 was 2 points better than the Comets.
Charles City won both the junior varsity girls and boys races.
Paced by race winner Libbie McKeag (22:13), and top-seven team finishers Rylie Patrie (3rd, 23:03), Liz Fiser (4th, 23:17), Kaylin Patten (6th, 23:25), Selah Opp (10th, 23:39), Claire Eckenrod (11th, 23:39) and Makenna Schmiedel (15th, 23:55), the Comet girls had 24 team points — well ahead of runner-up Dike-New Hartford (92).
The Comet JV boys edged Denver by 1 point (33-34) while winning their race.
The top seven for Charles City were Hayden Pleggenkuhle (3rd, 18:41), Tyler Eggers (4th, 18:47), Jared Johnson (7th, 19:03), Max Deeter (11th, 19:23), Drew Staudt (14th, 19:34), Antwone Cooper (17th, 19:46) and Nick Rodriguez (20th, 20:12).