FORT DODGE – Anna Hostetler flashed a sheepish grin when asked how she felt before Saturday’s Class 2A state cross country meet before finally admitting she was nervous at the starting line.
If Hostetler was indeed nervous, the Mid-Prairie freshman did a great job of hiding it.
In the first state meet appearance of her career, Hostetler placed sixth in the 2A girl’s race in 15:38 Saturday at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge on what was a strong day for the Golden Hawk program.
“I was pretty nervous but I just wanted to push myself today,” Hostetler said. “I wanted to be able to get into the top 10 and I was able to do that.”
Hostetler’s sixth-place finish helped Mid-Prairie to a sixth-place team finish as the Golden Hawks placed three runners in the top 30.
Junior Maddi Zahradnek finished 24th, while sophomore Abby Tornow was 30th.
The Golden Hawks, who didn’t have a senior among their top seven Saturday, finished with 169 points as River Valley Conference teams Monticello (63) and Cascade (92) finished first and second.
“We’ll all be back next year, and that’s exciting,” Hostetler said. “We’re looking forward to making it back.”
Mid-Prairie’s success wasn’t limited to the girl’s race.
Senior Jared Draper became Mid-Prairie’s first state medalist, placing ninth in the Class 2A boys race in 16:41.3.
“I was a little bit slower than my best, four seconds slower, but my best time was on a pretty fast course. I’m very happy today. First one from Mid-Prairie to be top 10, and I went from 46th last year, so I set out to do this and was able to do it, so I’ve got no regrets.”
• FOUR-TIME CHAMP: Rebekah Topham of Griswold became the first female and just the second athlete in state history to claim four state titles Saturday, winning her fourth consecutive Class 1A crown in 14:32.2.
The only other athlete to win four state titles in cross country was Mason City’s Mark Johnson, who won four straight titles from 1969-1973.
ALL-TIME PERFORMANCE: Gilbert senior Thomas Pollard turned in one of the best performances in state history Saturday while leading his team to the Class 3A title.
Pollard’s winning time of 15:04.5 was the fastest Class 3A time in state history and the third fastest 5-kilometer time ever.
CHANG OF SCENARY: Grace Gibbons gave Gilbert a sweep of the Class 3A individual titles and became the first runner in state history to win titles in three different classes.
Gibbons won the Class 3A race Saturday in 14:37.7 after helping Gilbert claim the Class 2A team title last season with an individual title.
Her first individual crown came in 2012 when she won the Class 4A race while competing for West Des Moines Dowling.
Reach Ryan Murken at 339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.