City High freshman Esti Brady By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
FORT DODGE – No team has as much history or done as much winning at the state cross country meet as City High.
In its 29th consecutive state meet appearance the Little Hawks took a big step toward returning to its winning ways.
City High notched its first top three finish since a runner-up finish in 2010 on Saturday, placing third at the Class 4A state meet at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
“I’m delighted,” City High coach Tom Mittman said. “I think our girls really showed the true nature of City High cross country today.”
City High has collected 11 state titles during their string of 29-straight appearances at state, five more than any other 4A program.
However, the Little Hawks finished 13th in 2013 and 10th in 2014 before a fourth place finish a year ago.
On Saturday City High picked up its first team hardware since 2010.
“We have come a long way in the last four years,” Mittman said. “I feel like we are back in business.”
City High senior Mary Arch
Top-ranked Johnston put five runners in the top 10 and cruised to the team title with 26 points.
The next four teams all came from the Mississippi Valley Conference as Dubuque Hempstead was second with 91 points and City High was third with 121.
Cedar Falls finished fourth with 137 while West High was fifth with 166.
“I thought there were 8-10 teams that had a shot at finishing on the podium with Johnston as a clear-cut favorite,” Mittman said. “Hempstead ran a whale of a race and we knew they have a nice pack but I couldn’t be more pleased with a third-place finish.”
Senior Mary Arch finished 10th in 18:59 to lead City High.
It was the second consecutive top-10 finish at state for Arch who was ninth a year ago.
“It means everything to me,” Arch said. “A lot of people don’t even have the chance to be able to run here so this is just a huge blessing.”
Arch led a team effort for the City High that saw the Little Hawks place five runners in the top 40 of scoring teams.
“I know that some people come and run as individuals and I personally couldn’t do that,” Arch said. “I couldn’t imagine doing this without my teammates.”
The improvement for City High on Saturday wasn’t limited to its team standing.
Senior Emily Bywater cut seven seconds off her state meet time from a year ago while finishing 21st in 19:15.8.
“I went into the race today with no limits for myself,” Bywater said. “I thought anything could happen and I just wanted to give if everything that I’ve got.”
The biggest improvement among returning runners for City High came from junior Bridget Brown.
Brown cut nearly half a minute off her state meet time from last year and went from a 72nd place finish last season to a 37th place finish in 19:33.4 on Saturday.
State meet newcomers Kinsee Brands and Annie Rummelhart turned in big performances as well.
Brands was 45th in 19:41.7 while Rummelhart placed 49th in 19:46.6.
Kinsee and Annie really stepped up and Bridget Brown had an awesome day,” Mittman said. “Bridget has come back from having a foot surgery in the spring, that is a huge thing to come back from and she has been fantastic for us.”
City High had 22 top-three team finishes from 1989 to 2010.
For seniors like Arch and Bywater that hadn’t finished in the top three during their careers, a team trophy was the top goal.
“I really wanted to get on the balcony as a team,” Bywater said. “That was my biggest goal.”
State Cross Country Meet Lakeside Golf Course Class 4A Girls Team scores – 1. Johnston 26; 2. Dubuque Hempstead 91; 3. City High 121; 4. Cedar Falls 137; 5. West High 166; 6. West Des Moines Dowling 199; 7. Waukee 211; 8. Ankeny Centennial 214; 9. Dubuque Senior 236; 10. Pleasant Valley 237; 11. North Scott 246; 12. Ames 267; 13. Linn-Mar 305; 14. Muscatine 306; 15. Ankeny 392.
Individual results – 1. Bailey Nock (West High) 18:06.9; 2. Jessica McKee (Johnston) 18:10; 3. Brooke McKee (Johnston) 18:30.6; 4. Gabby Skopec (West High) 18:38.1; 5. Emily Poss (Johnston) 18:50; 6. Ella Popenhagen (Cedar Rapids Kennedy) 18:52.2; 7. Paige Horner (Johnston) 18:54.8; 8. Trinity Borland (Bettendorf) 18:55.4; 9. Kylie Latham (Ottumwa) 18:58.6; 10. Mary Arch (City High) 18:59.1; 11. Helen Gould (West Des Moines Valley) 19:00.7; 12. Mackenzie Gaherty (Dubuque Senior) 19:00.7; 13. Presley Case (North Scott) 19:02; 14. Josie Hovey (Johnston) 19:02.5; 15. Ally Gallagher (Bettendorf) 19:03.2.
City High (121) – 7. Mary Arch 18:59.1; 15. Emily Bywater 19:15.8; 28. Bridget Brown 19:33.4; 34. Kinsee Brands 19:41.7; 37. Annie Rummelhart 19:46.6; 47. Esti Brady 19:58.6; 93. Anna Lindower 21:08.5.
West High (166) – 1. Bailey Nock 18:06.9; 4. Gabby Skopec 18:38.1; 46. Claire Ronnebaum 19:58.2; 49. Deniz Ince 20:00.8; 66. Jessie Skopec 20:23.3; 71. Emma Durian 20:34.8; 96. Olivia Moore 21:14.4