Cadet XC girls first at State Qualifier; Juelsgaard, Martinek advance


DIKE -  Against the backdrop of a clear, blue October sky, the Crestwood girls’ cross country team, as well as Bryden Juelsgaard and Nathan Martinek, etched their names triumphantly into the school history book.
Competing at the Class 2A State Qualifier Meet at Fox Ridge Golf Course in Dike, the No. 3 Crestwood girls’ squad nabbed first place with 42 points to qualify as a team for the State Meet on Oct. 28 in Fort Dodge. Four Cadet girls placed in the top 15 including: Ellie Friesen (first, 18:30); Cassidy Ihns (second, 18:57); Hope Dohlman (fourth, 20:04); and Rachel Steffen (14th, 21:30).  Ellie Friesen is ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, Cassidy Ihns is No. 10 and Hope Dohlman is No. 13. 
This season marks the first time since 2012 the Cadet girls’ team has qualified for the State Meet and the 11th time overall in school history. Ellie Friesen will be making her fourth straight trip to State, where she is a three-time top 15 place winner including eighth place in 2016. Dohlman will be making her third trip to State. 
In the boys’ meet, Cadet sophomore Bryden Juelsgaard and junior Nathan Martinek both punched their tickets to State for the first time by finishing in the top 15 individually. Juelsgaard placed 10th in 17:31 while Martinek was 13th in 17:33. The Crestwood boys’ team finished fourth overall with 121 points, which was 25 points behind the third place team South Hardin.
The State Meet will be held on Oct. 28 at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge. The Girls’ 2A Race will start at 1 p.m. and the Boys’ 2A Race will start at 1:30 p.m.
Crestwood Head Coach Jim Obermann said he was very pleased with the way all the Cadet harriers competed. He added that he was not surprised to see the girls’ squad run extremely well.
“We went into the State Qualifying Meet as the highest ranked team (No. 3) at the meet,” Obermann said. “We were obviously favored to win (because of the rankings), but we also performed very well. I was hopeful things would turn out that way, so it didn’t surprise me that the girls ran well.
“Our three girls at the top, Ellie, Cassidy and Hope, continue to be strong for us. They get out strong (at the start) and set the pace for us. As a team, I thought we ran very well. Rachel Steffen had her best race of the season, and she had a personal record.
“It’s good to see that our girls keep getting better because that’s what you have to do. We’ve been getting better all year long. The key for us (at State) will be the consistency that we’ve shown. Going into State, we want to get out strong with our lead runners and have the other girls pushing to keep closing the gap,” Obermann said.
The coach is happy with the progress all the girls have shown this season.
“At this point of the year, we’ve had different girls step forward. I feel good about Brynn Bodermann, Emily Friesen and Sarah Mashek. They have really pushed each other to get better. To do well at a meet like the State Qualifier, you have to run well as a team, and we did that. The success the girls have had (as a team) is well-deserved,” Obermann said.
When asked if he expected Ellie Friesen to place first at the State Qualifier, he said yes without hesitation.
“Ellie runs with high expectations all the time, which she puts on herself,” Obermann said. “She is ranked No. 2 in Iowa, and that’s not a surprise. She handles the expectations well.”
Ellie said she is excited to see the Cadet girls’ team qualify for State.
“I knew what I had to do to get our team to qualify for State so I went out and pushed myself,” Friesen said. “My goal was to be first. It was an easy race because I knew Hope and Cassidy would be right there with me (in the top 10). At State I’m shooting for number one for myself and for our team.”
Obermann said Ellie and the team will do everything they can to finish on top in Fort Dodge.
“Going into the State Meet, Ellie has the aspirations to be a State Champion,” the coach said. “Cassidy, Hope and the entire girls’ team will also have high aspirations. We’ll go to the State Meet with very high goals. We will give it our best and see what happens. 
“We have visions of winning (the team title), but several other teams have that vision as well. The only teams at State that we’ve already faced will be Cascade and Waukon, which competed at the State Qualifier and qualified for State. There is a lot of the unknown at State, but you know what your team is capable of doing. Some of what you do is running off of your teammates,” Obermann said.
The coach added he was also proud of all the Cadet boys who competed at the State Qualifier. He was especially pleased to see Juelsgaard and Martinek both earn their first trip to Fort Dodge.
“As a team, our boys ran great,” Obermann said. “We’ve been through a lot with our boys’ team this year. We’ve had some injuries and illnesses. Our lineup has been different in every meet. For Nathan, this was only his fourth meet of the year. Nathan really battled and showed great toughness (at the State Qualifier). I was very proud of Nathan with the competitiveness he showed. He is still not 100 percent healthy yet, but he’s getting better.
“Bryden certainly has proven himself this year. He is also very competitive. It’s neat to see how he has developed over the past couple of years. I’m not surprised by it. I told Bryden last year that he could qualify for State this year. He listens and he believes in himself. He deserves his success. He has been our number one guy for the most part this year, which is a lot to say for a sophomore.
“For our boys as a team, this was the best they have run all year. Ryan Steffen ran his best race of the year. Boston Ferrie and Garret Ollendieck have really improved a lot this season. Blake Murphy and Carlos Beascochea have been there all year for us. Our guys would have needed to beat a ranked team to go to State (as a team). 
“But I was very pleased to see the guys have their best race (of the season). It’s a little frustrating to finish fourth at the State Qualifier for two years in a row. That means we’re pretty darn good, but not quite good enough yet. Our goal for next year will be to break into the top three at the State Qualifier (to qualify as a team).
“We take consolation in the fact that we ran well, and we’ll celebrate with the two guys we’ll have at State. We haven’t had two guys qualify (in the same year) in a long time.
“We appreciate all the parents and fans who came to the State Qualifier to support us because it was a long drive. We’re excited to get to Fort Dodge and see what we can do,” Obermann said.

Cresco Times

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