Kolby Greiner and Ali Ali By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
FORT DODGE – With Halloween two days away West High broke out the surprises a couple of days early.
The 12th-ranked Trojans got top 15 finishes from senior Ali Ali and sophomore Kolby Greiner on their way to a surprising fifth place finish at the Class 4A state cross country meet at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge on Saturday.
“In my head sixth would have been a perfect day and 12th, where we were ranked, would have been a lousy day,” West High coach Brian Martz said. “To be fifth, that is a surprise, it’s incredible for these guys. I can’t believe it.”
Top-ranked West Des Moines Dowling won the team title with 100 points, two in front of runner-up and second ranked Pleasant Valley.
The rest of the team finishes is where things get surprising.
Fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie edged third-ranked West Des Moines Valley by seven points to finish third with 140 points.
West High finished with 163 points, 27 points in front of No. 6 Johnston as the Trojans placed in front of seven teams that appeared ahead of them in the final rankings.
City High finished ninth with 211 points.
“I thought maybe as a best-case scenario we would get fifth,” Ali said. “We were ranked 12th and our coaches were talking about getting seventh, maybe. Fifth is great, it obviously shows that the rankings don’t matter, we talk with our feet.”
Ali was among the pleasant individual surprises for West High that helped produce the fifth-place team finish.
The senior finished seventh in a time of 16:00.3 to lead a trio of West High runners that placed in the top 25 of runners scoring team points.
“I did not think I would do as well as I did, I wasn’t even sure if I could get in the top 10,” Ali said. “A third of the way through the race, it happened, I was in the top 10 and I just kept it there. It was amazing.”
City High senior Michael Berg
Ali entered ranked 11th in the 4A individual rankings but his previous best finish at state was 44th two years ago.
He placed 52nd last season as a junior but trimmed more than 46 seconds off his state meet time from a year ago while placing seventh.
“I feel elated, I feel great,” Ali said. “It’s a great way to end my season, it’s much better than I thought I would get.”
Greiner got his own surprise on Saturday.
An 11th place finish from Greiner on Saturday wasn’t a shock but the sophomore still got a surprise after finishing in a career-best time of 16:05.9.
“I thought to get on the deck you had to be top 10,” Greiner said. “I didn’t know it was 15, so I got 11th today and I thought ‘oh my gosh I missed it by one’. I finally figured it out and I was ecstatic.”
Greiner placed 46th last year as a freshman when he lost a shoe mid-race and had to back track to retrieve it.
On Saturday Greiner kept his footwear in place while cutting better than a half a minute off his time from last year’s state meet.
“I think today we ran our best,” Greiner said. “I honestly think we ran our hearts out.”
Senior Andrew Murley added a 28th place finish in 16:29.4 to help West High to its best team finish since placing fourth in 2012.
“We were kind of low in the rankings so we just wanted to climb the ladder and see how high we could get,” Senior Derek Nugent said. “We wanted to see how many teams we could pick off.”
City High was led by its senior duo of Matthew Dodge and Michael Berg on its way to a ninth-place finish.
Dodge placed 23rd in a time of 16:23.9 while Berg was 33 in 16:38.
Junior Robbie Strange was 61st in a time of 16:56 for the Little Hawks and junior Quenton Max was 69th in 17:00.7.
“There are surprises and there are expectations and you meet some and there are others you don’t, weird things happen at the state meet,” City High coach Jayme Skay said. “I am very proud of our younger guys and that performed well and our seniors did well. Placing ninth and close to eighth we are very happy about that.”
State Cross Country Meet at Lakeside Golf Course
Class 4A Boys
Team scores – 1. West Des Moines Dowling 100; 2. Pleasant Valley 102; 3. Cedar Rapids Prairie 140; 4. West Des Moines Valley 147; 5. West High 163; 6. Johnston 190; 7. Cedar Rapids Washington 192; 8. Linn-Mar 209; 9. City High 211; 10. Dubuque Hempstead 223; 11. Waukee 231; 12. Indianola 249; 13. Ankeny 259; 14. Dubuque Senior 307; 15. Cedar Falls 320.
Individual results – 1. Patricke Bose (Johnston) 15:37.2; 2. Sam Schillinger (Cedar Falls) 15:43; 3. Matthew Carmody (West Des Moines Dowling) 15:47.8; 4. Camden Cox (Ankeny Centennial) 15:51.3; 5. Ryan Murphy (Linn-Mar) 15:54.2; 6. Moise Habineza (West Des Moines Valley) 15:57.7; 7. Ali Ali (West High) 16:00.3; 8. Tim Sindt (Ankeny) 16:00.8; 9. Matt Fraizer (West Des Moines Dowling) 16:01.1; 10. Nicholas Yanek (Pleasant Valley) 16:01.4; 11. Kolby Greiner (West High) 16:05.9; 12. Jackson Lewis (Waukee) 16:08.4; 13. Trevor Kirk (West Des Moines Valley) 16:09.4; 14. Alex Bautista (Muscatine) 16:09.7; 15. Jack Fink (West Des Moines Dowling) 16:10.3.
West High (163) – 6. Ali Ali 16:00.3; 10. Kolby Greiner 16:05.9; 24. Andrew Murley 16:29.4; 55. Ethan Goers 17:00.5; 68. Ethan Trepka 17:12.1; 69. Nathan Abramoff 17:12.4; 89. Derek Nugent 17:36.5.
City High (211) – 20. Matthew Dodge 16:23.9; 28. Michael Berg 16:38; 49. Robbie Strange 16:56.8; 56. Quenton Max 17:00.7; 58. Lucas Firmstone 17:02.3; 86. Michael Taylor 17:35.6; 94. Caden Turnbough 17:49.1.