HULL, Iowa | As the calendar turns to October that means one thing only for high school cross country runners. The final push toward the state meet has begun.
It was a strong finish to September for George-Little Rock/Central Lyon sophomore Gable Sieperda, who won a very competitive boys 5,000-meter race Tuesday at Rolling Hills Golf Course in Hull, Iowa.
Sieperda, currently ranked second in Class 2A by the Iowa Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches, posted his fourth individual race victory of the season out of five races.
Sieperda, sixth at state as a freshman last fall, posted a 28 second race win over Unity Christian junior Jacob Vander Plaats, who is ranked third in Class 2A.
Western Christian junior Tristan Hulstein, the lone runner to defeat Sieperda in a race this season, and in his regular season career, was third.
George-Little Rock/Central Lyon freshman Joe Anderson finished fourth while Unity Christian senior Schuyler Malenke was fifth and MOC-Floyd Valley senior Carter Foughty was sixth.
The top six finishers in the race are all ranked and outside of Anderson, a ninth grader, are returning state qualifiers.
Hulstein is ranked seventh, Malenks ninth and Anderson 14th in 2A while Foughty is 26th in 3A.
Top-ranked (2A) Unity Christian boys team posted its fifth team championship of the season, placing five runners in the top 10 and scoring 33 points. MOC-Floyd Valley, ranked eighth in 3A, was second and George-Little Rock/Central Lyon third.
Le Mars freshman Madeline Hurt won the girls 5,000-meter race for her first individual victory of her career.
Unity Christian junior Jordan Bos was second followed by OA-BCIG freshman Madison Schiernbeck and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley junior Sammy Blum.
Unity Christian, ranked sixth in 2A, won the team title with 47 points, placing six runners in the top 18. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley was second and MOC-Floyd Valley third.
While both Unity Christian teams will be overwhelming favorites to continue its War Eagle Conference dominance, the Siouxland Conference team races could be closely contested.
MOC-Floyd Valley has swept the previous three league titles in both girls and boys, but should receive a push from the George-Little Rock/Central Lyon boys and the Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley girls.