Crestwood cross country teams enjoy outstanding 2017 season


CRESCO - The Crestwood girls’ and boys’ cross country teams both proved their mettle over and over during the 2017 season.
The Cadet girls’ squad grabbed first place in four meets this season, including the top spot at the Class 2A State Qualifier Meet on Oct. 19 in Dike. Competing at the State Meet in Fort Dodge, the Cadet girls’ team took fourth place as three individual Crestwood girls earned medals at State including: Ellie Friesen (third), Cassidy Ihns (11th) and Hope Dohlman (13th). Rachel Steffen, Emily Friesen, Sarah Mashek and Brynn Bodermann also competed hard at the State Meet.
The Crestwood boys’ team also experienced some success this season. The boys’ squad placed second at its home invitational, third at New Hampton and took fourth at the State Qualifier Meet. Crestwood sophomore Bryden Juelsgaard and junior Nathan Martinek both finished in the top 15 at the State Qualifier to earn a trip to the State Meet.
The Crestwood girls’ team included 22 students who competed throughout the season. The seniors included: Sami Bigalk, Ellie Friesen, Emily Friesen and Brynn Bodermann.
The junior girls included: Abbie Bergan, Hope Dohlman, Destiny Hodges, Cassidy Ihns, Sarah Mashek, Annie Mast, Emily Reinhart, Katie Saner and Taylor Shelton.
Sophomore girls included: Katlin Born, Madison Brace, Libby Labosky, Isabella Lehmkuhl, Krista Riley, Mattie Slavin, Rachel Steffen and Kelsey Stortz. Freshman Ashley Ferrie also competed.
The boys’ team had 22 runners who completed the season. Seniors and juniors included: Ryan Steffen, senior; Carlos Beascochea, senior;  Boston Ferrie, junior; Cale Jackson, junior; Luis Lares, junior; Nathan Martinek, junior; Blake Murphy, junior; Kyle Quam, junior; Jon Millage, junior; Eric Trautsch, junior and Cade Wenthold, junior.
Sophomores and freshmen included: Bryden Juelsgaard, 10th; Daniel Lares, 10th; Lucas McGee, 10th; David Meinecke, 10th; Caleb Shea, 10th; Matthew Slifka, 10th; Mason Thies, 10th; Garret Ollendieck, 10th; Tristan Wetherington, 10th; and Justin Nibaur, 9th.
Girls’ season
Cadet Coach Jim Obermann was excited to see the girls’ squad achieve a lot of success in 2017.
“The girls’ team put together a great season,” the coach said. “We knew going into the season that our  numbers would be good. All of our girls (Varsity and Junior Varsity) worked hard to get better. Our JV team was also very competitive and placed high in many meets.
“Before the season, we knew the girls’ team would have a lot of returning talent, including most of our varsity runners. Because of that, we knew we’d be a solid team. It was just a matter of how good we could become. Adding Cassidy Ihns to the team made us better (overall). We also added Brynn Bodermann, Annie Mast, Katie Saner and Taylor Shelton. With the returning runners and the other girls coming out for the team this year, that really made us a strong team. It didn’t take us too long for us to figure out we would be a very competitive team. After the first meet, we saw how strong we could become,” the coach said.
Obermann added the 2017 girls’ team was one of the strongest squads he has coached at Crestwood.
“Another big key (to the girls’ success) was staying relatively healthy,” Obermann said. “A couple girls battled some illnesses, but otherwise, we were healthy as a team, which allowed us to achieve a lot. We know that we run in one of the best conferences in the state (NEIC), and we placed a strong third at the NEIC meet.
“We won the State Qualifying Meet convincingly and had a strong showing at State. Taking fourth at State is outstanding, especially when you consider we placed fifth at the State Qualifier in 2016. To take first at the State Qualifier and have a real shot of placing first at State is a great credit to the girls in terms of  how hard they worked and the dedication that they showed.
“I couldn’t be prouder of all the girls. They were a close-knit group and very supportive of each other. It was a fun season for me as a coach and for the girls. This team is one of the best we’ve had (at Crestwood) in a long time. We just happened to get beat by three really good teams at State (Mid-Prairie, Monticello and WC-KP), but that doesn’t diminish at all what the girls’ team accomplished this year,” Obermann said.
The coach said that the girls’ team was a great squad led by many strong individuals.
“We had some tremendous leaders on the team,” the coach said. “This was Ellie’s fourth time at State, and she finished in the top 10 all four years. It’s very impressive to be that consistently good. Hope is a gutsy, tough performer, who is very mature. It was great to see her earn her first State medal, which came through a lot of hard work. For Cassidy to compete in a new school, a new team, new teammates and new courses and still become a State medalist is very impressive.
“We have a lot of great kids. Emily Friesen and Brynn Bodermann competed well. Emily is made of the right stuff. She’s a great leader and an excellent competitor. Brynn, who competed for the first time on cross country, ran on the varsity the whole year.
“Sami Bigalk didn’t run on the varsity this year, but she has been a strong contributor to our program for four years. She was a great teammate and a solid runner,” Obermann said.
The coach praised the four seniors for all their hard work.
“We are indebted to those seniors for being great role models,” Obermann said. “We’ll miss those seniors next year, not just for their talent, but also for the kind of people they are.
“We also had good leaders in Sarah Mashek, Rachel Steffen and Annie Mast. Sarah continues to get better every year. Rachel is a super-hard worker. Annie was a tremendously positive person on our team. She was a varsity runner who didn’t run much on the varsity mainly because of the talented runners ahead of her. Every team should have someone like Annie Mast. She was always upbeat and positive.
“Madison Brace and Libby Labosky were also strong runners for us. Libby works hard to get better. All of our girls deserve a lot of credit for their hard work,” Obermann said.
Boys’ season
The coach noted the boys’ team had to replace a few more runners this season because there were more seniors who graduated last year.
“Because of graduation losses, we had to transition some JV runners from last year into Varsity runners this year,” Obermann said. “This year’s boys’ team had to deal with a lot of injuries and illnesses. 
“That started at the top with Nathan Martinek, who would have been our top runner all year except that he had to battle an illness most of the season. Nathan put in a lot of hard work during the summer, but he had bad luck (with an illness). Nathan’s fourth meet of the year was the State Qualifier meet. For him to qualify for State will be so crucial for him (next year).
“Ryan Steffen ran in only about half the meets because of a knee injury. He competed at the NEIC meet and the State Qualifier, which was good to see.
“Carlos Beascochea moved into the district this year, and he was a great addition to the varsity team. Carlos brought ability as well as an infectious personality, which helped him fit in well. I was appreciative of Carlos for joining the team, and he gave us more depth,” Obermann said. 
The coach said that several boys stepped up well during the season.
“One of the guys who stepped up was Boston Ferrie,” Obermann said. “During the second half of the season, he became a legitimate varsity runner. Kyle Quam and Blake Murphy both really improved this year. We also had Garret Ollendieck join us late. Garret became a consistent varsity runner, and he has a bright future in cross country. He surprised us a little with his ability.  Tristan Wetherington also joined us later, and so did Jon Millage.
“We had good numbers for the boys’ squad, but we did have to battle through some injuries and illnesses. I think this made us stronger at the end of the year. We had our best meet at the State Qualifier, where we finished fourth. Some people may not have expected us to finish that high at the State Qualifier. 
“Bryden Juelsgaard became our number one runner this year. He earned All-Conference honors and he qualified for State. Bryden is one of the next wave of guys who we think will make a difference for us (next year). Bryden is talented, very competitive and he has the drive to succeed. I was not surprised (by Bryden’s success). Even when he was in junior high, I felt like Bryden could be a top-notch cross country runner. We will look to Bryden and Nathan to be our leaders next year. Matthew Slifka, Justin Nibaur and Caleb Shea will also help make a difference for us next season.
“Our boys’ team will have a lot of guys coming back for next year. We also feel good about our eighth grade kids. We think we have some eighth graders who can help make the high school program stronger in 2018. We will continue to look for good kids who will work hard and respect the sport. We stress that it is important to put in the work. If you don’t put in the work, (cross country) will not be rewarding.
“We are proud of all the hard-workers we have (on both the girls’ and boys’ teams). One of the lessons of cross country is you can’t hide. You can’t sit on the bench. If you don’t put in the work, that will show. I think cross country is a great sport because hard work is rewarded.
“I want to thank my two (assistant) coaches, Coach Karen Steffen and Rich Wicks. Karen does a great job and takes on a lot of responsibility for us. Rich is excellent with the junior high kids and is very supportive of our program. Our goal is to make our program better, stronger and improve our numbers. We appreciate the great support from our community and parents. We have a lot of good things happening, and we look forward to more good things down the road,” Obermann said.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

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214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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