Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – In the more than 10 months between the 2022 state cross country meet and the 2023 season debut for Moustafa Tiea the West High standout forget an important thing about the sport.
“I definitely forgot how hard cross country is,” Tiea said. “It’s such a hard sport.”
As he showed on Thursday Tiea didn’t forget how to finish or how to win.
Tiea passed Cedar Rapids Kennedy sophomore Adam Gray over the final 200 meters on his way to winning the individual title at the Eastern Iowa Classic on an overcast evening at Seminole Valley Cross Country Course in Cedar Rapids.
“I felt great up until 1.5 and then I was like, ‘dang this sport is hard,” Tiea said with a smile. “But that comes with the territory. It’s supposed to hurt, if it hurts you are doing it right.”
The individual title from Tiea in his first race of the season helped West High to a third-place finish at the nine-team meet.
Class 4A sixth-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy had five runners in the top six behind Tiea and cruised to the team title with 20 points.
No. 15 City High got top-10 finishes from Owyn Noble and Linus McRoberts and finished runner-up as a team with 60 points.
Caleb Benson finished ninth for West High and Michael Lee was 17th at the Trojans finished with 70 points.
“We are coming together great,” Tiea said. “It’s one thing to rely on one person to bring the team together but it’s another thing to adapt to that missing person so I’m genuinely proud of our team.”
Running his first cross country race since the 2022 state meet, Tiea ran to the front of the pack early on Thursday.
Tiea stayed in front until the final mile when Gray made his move.
It was then a race to the finish over the final 400 meters.
“There has to be that one small switch and it’s really hard to find that switch,” Tiea said of the his final charge. “What’s the difference between me and him? The only difference is if you want it more.”
Tiea was able to outrace Gray to the finish line to win the individual title in 15:30.9.
Gray was runner-up in 15:41 to start a string of five consecutive Cedar Rapids Kennedy finishers.
“He’s got really good fitness and after letting someone hang around for three miles you start to doubt yourself a little bit,” West High coach Josh Kidman said. “With his finishing speed it would be kind of a mistake on his part to let anyone get past him in the last 200.”
Benson was ninth in a time of 16:30.05 for the Trojans and Lee place 17 in 16:52.78.
Sam Showers was 21st in 16:58.04 and Brice Wahe was right behind in 22nd in a time of 16:59.16.
“It seems like we are a late-season team every year which I won’t complain about however it leaves you kind of biting your nails for the month of September,” Kidman said. “We are going to be alright, we’ve had some bumps in the road but we are injury free and our fitness is building.”
City High had four runners in the top-15 led by Noble who was seventh in 16:13.52 and McRoberts who placed ninth in 16:24.98.
Maxwell McDowell finished 13th in 16:33.6 and David Randall was 14th in 16:34.49.
Regina finished seventh with 206 points and was led by Ambrose Nuxoll who finished 39th in a time of 18:00.09 and Colin Olney who was 40th in 18:00.41.
Eastern Iowa Classic
At Seminole Valley Cross Country Course
Team scores – 1. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 20; 2. City High 60; 3. West High 70; 4. Linn-Mar 76; 5. Marion 151; 6. Center Point-Urbana 152; 7. Regina 206; 8. Cedar Rapids Washington 236; 9. Clear Creek Amana 276
Individual leaders – 1. Moustafa Tiea (ICW) 15:40.9; 2. Adam Gray (CRK) 15:41.38; 3. Jacob Bruns (CRK) 15:53.79; 4. Henry McMahan (CRK) 16:00.88; 5. Reece Murray (CRK) 16:12.57; 6. Slader Buckheister (CRK) 16:12.91; 7. Owyn Noble (ICH) 16:13.52; 8. Linus McRoberts (ICH) 16:24.98; 9. Caleb Benson (ICW) 16:30.05; 10. Riley Kuhn (L-M) 16:30.38; 11. Cooper Cook (MAR) 16:31.41; 12. Nicholas Budzinski (L-M) 16:32.46; 13. Maxwell McDowell (ICH) 16:33.60; 14. David Randall (ICH) 16:34.49 15. Graedyn Morrissey (L-M) 16:41.21
City High (60) – 7. Owyn Noble 16:13.52; 8. Linus McRoberts 16:24.98; 13. Maxwell McDowell 16:33.60; 14. David Randall 16:34.49; 18. Will Carey 16:53.65; 19. Adam Schaefer 16:55.46; 24. Jarris Prottsman 17:08.05
West High (70) – 1. Moustafa Tiea 15:40.9; 9. Caleb Benson 16:30.05; 17. Michael Lee 16:52.78; 21. Sam Showers 16:58.04; 22. Brice Wahe 16:59.16; 28. Robert Stong 17:18.34; 32. Venelin Kotev 17:32.2
Regina (206) – 39. Ambrose Nuxoll 18:00.09; 40. Colin Olney 18:00.41; 41. Howard O’Rourke 18:01.65; 42. Evan White 18:01.68; 44. Matt Takacs 18:08.91; 47. Samuel Welter 18:33.07; 50. Riordan Smith 18:58.12
Clear Creek Amana (276) – 52. Luke Young 19:04.82; 54. Odin Hankins 19:12.31; 55. Tate Schloss 19:20.8; 57. Beckett Boeset 19:22.28; 58. Andrew Rotzoll 19:23.91