Your Prep Sports
Last fall the Your Prep Sports area was home to some of the top cross country teams in the state.
Five area teams reached the state meet a year ago with City High, West High, Solon and Regina all posting top-10 finishes in Fort Dodge.
With the talent returning for area teams this fall the 2022 season figures to be more of the same.
The 2022 season officially opened with the first day of practice on Monday and concludes with the two-day state meet scheduled for October 28 and 29 at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
Before competition gets under later this month Your Prep Sports takes a look at seven area runners to watch during the 2022 season.
Senior, City High
Among the top distance runners in the state Washburn will be seeking a state title this fall to cap what has already been a brilliant prep career.
Washburn earned a second consecutive state medal and posted a third straight top-20 finish at the Class 4A state meet last season finishing fourth in a time of 15:32.88.
The leader of a strong group of returners from a City High squad that finished third at the state meet last season, Washburn was runner-up at the MVC Super Meet and won the 4A state qualifier a year ago.
In his first season of varsity cross country O’Neil made an immediate impact helping Regina to an eighth-place finish at the Class 1A state meet in the Regals first trip to state since 2015.
O’Neil peaked at the perfect time last season finishing fourth at the River Valley Conference meet before winning the Class 1A state qualifier.
In his first state meet appearance O’Neil earned a medal with a 14th place finish in a time of 17:01.61.
Senior, West High
Cheney enjoyed a breakthrough season a year ago while running second to state runner-up Alex McKane last season.
With McKane gone to graduation Cheney takes over as the leader for the Trojans after a strong junior season in which he placed 25th at the Class 4A state meet in a time of 16:31.86.
Before his top-25 finish at state Cheney was 10th at the MVC Super Meet and fifth at both the MVC Valley Division and 4A state qualifier.
An impressive start to the career continued for Kabela last season as the Solon standout earned his first career state medal after placing 26th at the state meet as a freshman.
During an impressive freshman season Kabela was 11th at the WAMAC Conference meet and 10th at the state qualifier in 2020.
Kabela improved on that performance a year ago placing fourth at both the WAMAC meet and 3A state qualifier before finishing 14th at the 3A state meet in 16:35.76.
Junior, Liberty High
A candidate for a big-time breakthrough this season Decker has shown in two seasons as an underclassman he can compete with the best in the state.
Already a two-time state qualifier Decker was 36th at the state meet as a freshman and was the top Liberty High finisher at the state meet last season placing 42nd in 16:51.14.
Decker finished 21st at the MVC Super Meet and was ninth at the 4A state qualifier a year ago.
Senior, City High
Part of a strong core for a City High team that has its sights set on a team title Smith came on strong at the end of last season finish 11th at the Class 4A state meet to secure his first career state medal.
Smith finished in 16:06.13 on his way to an 11th place finish to help the Little Hawks to a third-place team finish.
A year ago Smith added an eighth-place finish at the MVC Super Meet and was seventh at the 4A state qualifier.
Sophomore, West High
A list of runners to watch wouldn’t be complete without Tiea who showed flashes of his potential during his debut season a year ago.
The results from a year ago don’t jump out, Tiea finished 26th at the Class 4A state qualifier and 73rd at the state meet, however look for a big-time breakthrough from Tiea during his sophomore season.