Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS– It is a common concept in cross country that running alone ahead of the pack can make it difficult to push for a top time.
That wasn’t at all the case for West High sophomore Cindy Wang on Thursday.
Wang raced to the front of the field early and cruised to the first varsity title of her career at the Eastern Iowa Cross Country Classic at Seminole Valley Park in Cedar Rapids.
“I had never won a race before and I think it really motivated me even more and gave me a push,” Wang said. “Knowing I had a chance to win that gave me so much motivation.”
The first individual title for Wang highlighted a dominating performance by West High as the Trojans put five runners in the top 12.
Class 4A No. 14 West High won the team title with 27 points, 30 in front of 3A No. 16 Clear Creek Amana which was runner-up with 57 points. 1A fifth-ranked Regina was sixth with 117 points.
Sophomore Gabby Moniza was runner-up to Wang while Annie Schwartz was fifth and Sara Alaya was eighth for West High which won its second team title in two tries at Seminole Valley this season.
West High won the 17-team Cedar Rapids Invitational title two weeks ago.
“We won last time and we wanted to do the same again,” Wang said. “I had my whole team with me and we pushed each other really well.”
West High was impressive two weeks ago and was even better on Thursday starting with Wang.
Wang finished sixth at the Cedar Rapids Invitational back on September 9 but took more than 15 seconds off her time while winning the individual title on Thursday in 19:02.23.
“This time it was really different, I had no one in front of me so it was difficult to pace myself,” Wang said. “I just paced myself with the car and I went out really well. I think I had a good start and a good finish. The fact that I had my time from last time pushed me and encouraged me even more to do better this time.”
Moniza was ninth two weeks ago at the Cedar Rapids Invite and improved her time by nearly three seconds while finishing runner-up to Wang in 19:24.27.
“I felt really good,” Moniza said. “These last weeks of practice have really been increasing our pace and the volume of our workouts and I think it’s really paying off during meets.
Schwartz trimmed more than 12 seconds off her time from two weeks ago and finished fifth in 19:51.55
Alaya was eighth in 20:19.73 which was more than 15 seconds faster than her time from two weeks ago.
“I think we all ran well today,” Moniza said. “I feel like we keep improving in different ways every meet and I hope that will continue through the rest of the season.
The improvement for West High has started with Wang.
A junior varsity runner all of last season Wang spent the summer logging miles and working toward earning a varsity spot.
She has done a lot more than that already this season.
“It has surprised me because last year I was on junior varsity and wasn’t even making top 10 or 20,” Wang said. “This year the fact that I am on varsity is a motivator and winning is amazing.”
Wang has teamed with Moniza to give the Trojans a strong front of the pack tandem
“She has just improved 100 percent,” Moniza said of Wang. “Last year she didn’t even run varsity meets and this year she is winning meets and as her teammate I just love to see her do well.”
Clear Creek Amana used a fourth-place finish from Haidyn Barker in 19:33.26 and a sixth-place finish from freshman Kira Barker in 19:55.5 to finish second.
Kalin Rotzoll finished 10th and Sara Kinzenbaw was 14th as the Clippers put four runners in the top 14.
Mya Whitaker led Regina finishing ninth in 20:24.46.
Eastern Iowa Classic
At Seminole Valley Park
Team scores – 1. West High 27; 2. Clear Creek Amana 57; 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 85; 4. Muscatine 93; 5. Davenport West 106; 6. Regina 117; 7. Cedar Rapids Xavier 201
Individual leaders – 1. Cindy Wang (ICW) 19:02.23; 2. Gabby Moniza (ICW) 19:24.27; 3. Kylie Dailey (DW) 19:30.9; 4. Haidyn Barker (CCA) 19:33.26; 5. Annie Schwartz (ICW) 19:51.55; 6. Kira Barker (CCA) 19:55.5; 7. Bethany Smeed (CRK) 20:15.65; 8. Sara Alaya (ICW) 20:19.73; 9. Mya Whitaker (ICR) 20:24.46; 10. Kalin Rotzoll (CCA) 20:37.86; 11. Makenna Hetrick (CRW) 20:40.82; 12. Erinn Varga (ICW) 20:43.29; 13. Anabel Bradley (CRK) 20:43.79; 14. Sara Kinzenbaw (CCA) 20:44.96; 15. Ella Brewer (MUS) 20:56.25
West High (27) – 1. Cindy Wang 19:02.23; 2. Gabby Moniza 19:24.27; 5. Annie Schwartz 19:51.55; 8. Sara Alaya 20:19.73; 11. Erinn Varga 20:43.29; 31. Ijin Shim 22:34.31; 32. Jasmine Ortega 22:40.15
Clear Creek Amana (57) – 4. Haidyn Barker 19:33.26; 6. Kira Barker 19:55.5; 10. Kalin Rotzoll 20:37.86; 13. Sara Kinzenbaw 20:44.96; 24. Allie Kounkel 21:59.34; 29. Avery Allan 22:17.33; 33. Raegan Wyant 22:41.4
Regina (117) – 9. Mya Whitaker 20:24.46; 18. Natalie Franklin 21:29.11; 26. Josie Pursley 22:08.96; 30. Alex Spies 22:24.35; 34. Cate Klitgaard 22:46.41; 39. Allison Hein 23:37.3; 40. Keira Sickels 23:52.12