Jane Astor has experienced a lot in her 22 years coaching the Clear Creek Amana boys cross country team.
However, today will be a day of firsts for Astor and the Clippers.
For the first time in program history, the Clear Creek Amana boys team qualified for the state meet as a team and will compete in today’s Class 3A race at the Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
“I think they are very excited,” Astor said of her team. “They are very happy to have achieved their goal.”
Clear Creek Amana secured its first trip to state at last week’s regional qualifier in impressive fashion.
The Clippers entered the regional unranked but won the meet by one point finishing in front of four teams that entered the meet ranked in the top 12.
Clear Creek Amana placed three individuals in the top 11 at the regional meet led by senior Jack Murray’s sixth-place finish.
Murray and sophomore Ben Alcorn, who was ninth at the regional, both qualified for the state meet last year as individuals.
Alcorn finished 40th at state last year while Murray was 108th.
“Last year after we got two people qualified, we said we want to get the rest of the team there,” Astor said. “So it was excellent to achieve that this year.”
Sophomore Eric Douglass finished 11th at the regional meet and gives the Clippers three runners who ran faster than 17:06 at regionals.
Senior Dustin Yelland finished 21st at the region while sophomore Jacob Taner was 27th as the Clippers edged No. 8 Center Point-Urbana by one point for the regional title.
No. 11 Mount Vernon/Lisbon finished third at the competitive regional while No. 5 Cedar Rapids finished fifth and missed a state meet berth.
The strong performance at the regional sends Clear Creek Amana into today’s 3A meet ranked seventh.
“I want them to stay relaxed,” Astor said. “I just want them to run to the best of their abilities. This team really cares about one another so I really think if they just focus on doing the best they can for their teammates that good things will happen.”
Solon will have three runners competing in the 3A race today as junior Ty Appleget and senior Patrick McGill qualified on the boys side and junior Alex Smith will compete in the 3A girls race.
In Class 4A, West High’s Ashlynn Yokom enters as one of the favorites to claim individual medalist honors.
Last year’s 4A runner-up Yokom is ranked third entering the meet and had the third fastest time from a regional qualifier.
The West High girls will be seeking to improve on last year’s sixth-place state finish.
Emmie Skopec enters the 4A race ranked 24th while Jessie Skopec is coming off an eighth place finish at the regional qualifier.
Led by Molly Shepherd’s eighth-place finish at the regional City High also qualified as a team.
On the boys side in 4A both West High and City High bring teams to state.
West High’s Daniel Gardarsson ranks 18th enter the meet as the Trojans try to break into the top three after finishing fourth last year.