West High sophomore Kolby GreinerBy Susan Harman
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – Kolby Greiner was a fright from head to toe, but his grin cut through the grime.
Greiner’s fourth-place finish along with teammate Ali Ali’s fifth-place helped lead Iowa City West to a runner-up finish at the Cedar Rapids Invitational cross country meet Thursday at Seminole Valley park.
Cedar Rapids Prairie, ranked fourth in 4A, was the winner with 59 points, 36 points better than the sixth-ranked Trojans. Linn-Mar’s Ryan Murphy won the individual title in 15:59.13.
City High was third, just three points back of West and was led by Michael Berg’s seventh-place finish.
Greiner, a sophomore, finished in 16:17.49 and Ali in 16:22.16.
“It was a really muddy race, you know?” Greiner said. “I came through that first mile and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is fast.’ 5:01, you know. After that first mile I thought I’m feeling good, I’m feeling great, and I look over my shoulder and see my teammate Ali Ali there. He’s a great character. I knew I had to go with him. I’m really happy for him because he had a PR, like 30 seconds.”
Wednesday’s hard rains left the course soft, and mud was flying by the time the boys varsity ran.
City High’s Michael Berg
“I hope I don’t get any diseases,” Greiner cracked. “It was bad.”
Ali, a senior, was pleased with his PR, particularly at this stage of the season.
“I did have a PR; it was absolutely unexpected,” he said. “I never run with a plan. It just happens organically. (Greiner)’s usually at the front where I want to be. I just keep passing people, and I get there eventually. I’m really happy with what I did, but Kolby did amazing too. He was right there with me, and he passed me at the end.”
West coach Brian Martz would like to see a closer connection between the top two and some of the rest of the runners.
“Our focus is on our team improving right now,” Martz said. “We just have such a huge gap between our second and third runner and from our third to fourth and fifth and sixth.
“(An assistant pointed out) we’re just not very race aware right now. We need to tune in a little bit better. We had improvements on the clock today, that’s great. But the bottom line is where you place, and we’ve got to find a way to compete a little bit better.”
Berg finished in 16:36.44. Matthew Dodge was 13th in 16:46.16, and Michael Taylor was 15th in 16:49.20 for the Little Hawks.
“It was a really hot race and it was really muddy, but it’s a cross-country race,” Berg said. “We have to get used to it. Everyone on our team did pretty well today.
“I just wanted to stay with the lead pack, stay in contact as much as possible for as long as possible and see where it got me. And it worked. I’m very pleased with how that race went.”
City High coach Jayme Skay couldn’t resist divulging that Berg recently scored a perfect 36 on his ACT test.
The coach was also happy with the way his group competed considering the hard training they are undergoing early in the season.
“Last year we were a little bit more focused on speed early and doing what we can to make sure we get to state,” Skay said. “This year we want to not just make it to state, we want to make a statement. We want to do the best that we can to put us back on the map. So it was surprising with the heat and humidity and the training that we’ve been doing.”
Top-ranked Pleasant Valley was ninth. The Spartan lineup did not include any of the seven runners who competed last Saturday in their own invitational in which they finished second to Edina, Minn., and beat Prairie. Ten ranked teams competed in the boys race.
Cedar Rapids Invitational
Seminole Valley park
Team results – 1. C.R. Prairie 59; 2. Iowa City West 95; 3. Iowa City High 98; 4. Mount Vernon-Lisbon 131; 5. Linn-Mar 136; 6. Muscatine 177; 7. Marion 186; 8. Davenport West 257; 9. Pleasant Valley 287; 10. C.R. Washington 290; 11. Dubuque Wahlert 326; 12. C.R. Xavier 326; 13. C.R. Kennedy 331; 14. Waterloo West 349; 15. Davenport Central 399; 16. C.R. Jefferson 404; 17. Bettendorf 411; 18. North Scott 436.
Individual Results – 1. Ryan Murphy (LM) 15:59.13; 2. Jeremy Fopma (Mar) 16:03.24; 3. Myles Bach (Mar) 16:08.21; 4. Kolby Greiner (ICW) 16:17.49; 5. Ali Ali (ICW) 16:22.16; 6. Cam Steffens (CRP) 16:31.25; 7. Michael Berg (ICH) 16:36.44; 8. Alex Bautista (Mus)16:37.89; 9. Eiljah Vlasek (CRP) 16:39.03; 10. Andrew Wright (DW) 16:41.68.
Iowa City West (95) – 4. Greiner 16:17.49; 5. Ali 16:22.16; 20. Andrew Murley 17:09.72; 29. Kyle Sulwer 17:21.66; 37. Jared Bailey 17:29.14; 42. Ethan Trepka 17:31.97; 69. Derek Nugent 17:57.53.
Iowa City High (98) – 7. Berg 16:36.44; 13. Matthew Dodge 16:46.16; 15. Michael Taylor 16:49.20; 27. Quenton Max17:19.42; 36. Lucas Firmstone 17:28.91; 50. Caden Turnbough 17:37.95; 55. Oliver Shabani 17:41.92.