SIOUX CITY | Alec Pavone got his senior season off to a strong start with a victory in the opening cross country meet for the metro schools.
The Bishop Heelan runner covered the 5,000-meter course at the SYA Complex in 16:07.37 to post his second straight victory in the Heelan Invitational.
“It wasn’t so much a focus on that (time), kind of just a building block for the year,” said Pavone.
Pavone’s classmate Ben Eastman finished second in 16:22.37. North, however, led by third-place finisher Connor Coyle (16:35.49), edged the Crusaders (40-44) for the team title.
“Four points, kind of bittersweet, we wanted the win, but we know where we can be in a short period of time,” said Pavone, a 3A state qualifier last fall.
Coyle, a senior, led a strong North quartet that placed in the top 10 while six Stars finished in the top 17 to aid in the team victory. Incidentally, the Stars won the season-opening Heelan Invite last fall for their lone team triumph of the season.
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Will Zeman, a freshman, crossed in fifth place for North while junior Daniel Folchert (7th) and sophomore Camden Beller (10th) along with junior Kaleb Maynard (15th) counted in the team scoring.
“We didn’t graduate any of them (varsity runners) from last year, the entire seven is back,” said North cross country coach Abdier Marrero. “Plus we added a wonderful freshman in Will Zeman, a big surprise there.
“They put in some work this summer, we racked up over 7,000 miles as a team. It was a pretty intense summer that they put in. We’ve been talking about this since June to finally see it happen, they came out, they wanted it.”
Fourth place West was led by fourth-place finisher Phoenix Larned, a sophomore. Fifth-place East was led by a pair of top 10 finishers, juniors Jeremy Hill (8th) and William Hlas (9th).
Meanwhile, the girls team race also came down to single digits as East came away victorious by a slim 52-58 margin over the host Crusaders.
The Black Raiders, with two freshmen and two sophomores among its top four runnersb claimed their first team title on the girls side in a few seasons.
“The girls worked hard, they worked so hard as a group,” said East cross country coach Rochelle Babcock. “It’s fun, I’m very proud, I think I’m in shock, I’m so proud of these kids, they worked so hard.
“For them to win it as a group for kids that are hard workers, it’s nice to see.”
East freshman Paige Hanson finished fifth overall in the girls 4,000-meter race while sophomore teammate Kali Ryan was sixth. The Black Raiders team count was aided by sophomore Avery Lester (8th), freshman Lauren Van Dyke (17th) and senior Hannah Hildahl (18th).
Five freshmen finished in the top 10 in the girls race led by individual champion Suzanne Putze of Woodbury Central/Kinsgley-Pierson. Putze finished in 16:00.16 while teammate KayLynne Bechen, another freshman, was second in 16:27.39.
Heelan’s runner-up team finish was led by senior Madison Peck, who finished seventh and junior Vanessa Morales, who was ninth.
West freshman Emily Molden also cracked the top 10 in her first high school meet.
Team standings: North 40, Bishop Heelan 44, Lewis Central 93, West 119, East 131, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 147, Woodbury Central/Kingsley-Pierson 166, West Monona/Whiting 241, Westwood 242.
Top 15 finishers (5,000): 1, Alec Pavone, Bishop Heelan, 16:07.37; 2, Ben Eastman, Bishop Heelan, 16:22.37; 3, Connor Coyle, North, 16:35.49; 4, Phoenix Larned, West, 16:42.73; 5, Will Zeman, North, 16:45.36; 6, Brenden O'Brien, Lewis Central, 16:51.84; 7, Daniel Folchert, North, 16:57.34; 8, Jeremy Hill, East, 17:00.13; 9, William Hlas, East, 17:00.96; 10, Camden Beller, North, 17:03.53; 11, Nathan Barber, Bishop Heelan, 17:03.88; 12, Miles Scott, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 17:14.55; 13, Ryan Fouts, Woodbury Central/Kingsley-Pierson, 17:18.05; 14, Conner Ritz, Bishop Heelan, 17:19.26; 15, Kaleb Maynard, North, 17:26.89.
Team standings: North 15, Lewis Central 55, West 82, East 111, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 141
Top 10 finishers (4,000): 1, Gavin Bush, North, 14:40.24; 2, Chris Okine, North, 15:08.77; 3, Clement Oyadare, North, 15:09.69; 4, Caleb Miller, North, 15:10.28; 5, Aaron Eybers, North, 15:14.29; 6, Drake Beller, North, 15:19.98; 7, Jackson Baker, North, 15:26.39; 8, Jacob Fuller, North, 15:28.19; 9, Mitch Moen, Lewis Central, 15:29.92; 10, Parker Burrack, North, 15:36.77.
Team standings: East 52, Bishop Heelan 58, Lewis Central 68, West 102, Woodbury Central/Kingsley-Pierson 106, North 111, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 169, West Monona/Whiting 245.
Top 15 finishers: 1, Suzanne Putze, Woodbury Central/Kingsley-Pierson, 16:00.16; 2, KayLynne Bechen, Woodbury Central/Kingsley-Pierson, 16:27.39; 3, Kye Madsen, Lewis Central, 16:28.39; 4, Alissa Pomrenke, Lewis Central, 16:38.90; 5, Paige Hanson, East, 16:44.35; 6, Kali Ryan, East, 16:48.10; 7, Madison Peck, Bishop Heelan, 16:51.27; 8, Avery Lester, East, 16:52.73; 9, Vanessa Morales, Bishop Heelan, 16:53.29; 10, Emily Molden, West, 16:57.44; 11, Lauren Luft, Bishop Heelan, 16:58.51; 12, Emma Sealey, Bishop Heelan, 17:00.22; 13, Shelby Boettcher, West, 17:01.86; 14, Denae Statzer, Lewis Central, 17:03.07; 15, Lillyana Yebra, North, 17:12.57.
Top 10 finishers: 1, Annie Jensen, Bishop Heelan, 17:51.95; 2, Tess Lord, Bishop Heelan, 17:49.57; 3, Allison Lester, East, 18:15.94; 4, Kiley Boeshart, Bishop Heelan, 18:22.32; 5, Nicole Miller, Lewis Central, 18:28.84; 6, Cameron Williams, Lewis Central, 18:37.46; 7, Anna Ford, Lewis Central, 18:40.94; 8, Emily Wenck, Lewis Central, 18:49.59; 9, Nicole Simmons, Lewis Central, 18:56.90; 10, Clarissa Scott, Lewis Central, 18:57.20.