Sports

Mertens captains All-GTNS team Panthers get three names on 2018 GTNS cross-country list, New London nabs two

Cody Mertens
Cody Mertens
/

The 2018 cross-country season went about as expected in Southeast Iowa. Per usual, the Golden Triangle area represented the area well throughout the year, including at the state tournament in Ft. Dodge.

The 2018 All-Golden Triangle New Service team is made up of the best runners from around the area, and the team was so elite this year that all selections were runners who ended their season at the state meet in Ft. Dodge.

Among our 2018 team are two 2018 individual state champions and a coach that led his team to a title. From Henry County, three Mt. Pleasant runners make the list. Two New London runners, who run for the Danville-New London team, also made the squad.

BOYS

Coach: Davis Eidahl, Pekin: A living coaching legend in his sixth decade of coaching, Eidahl qualified both his teams for the state meet with the girls finishing seventh overall with 178 points and one top-20 finisher and three ladies in the top-50. The Panther boys placed 12th as a team with 258 points and two top-15 finishers.

Captain: Cody Mertens, senior, Mt. Pleasant: The 2018 season was like destiny fulfilled for Mt. Pleasant’s Cody Mertens.

Mertens won the Southeast Conference for the second year in a row, and dominated the state-qualifying meet. Then in Ft. Dodge, Mertens put it all together for his first individual state title, winning the 3A race by seven seconds, crossing in 16:03.1.

Mertens’ performance at state makes him an easy choice for captain of the 2018 All-GTNS team.

Dalton Moyle, senior, Mt. Pleasant: It was a year of firsts for Mt. Pleasant’s Dalton Moyle. Not only did Moyle win a meet and finish top two in the conference race at Keokuk, but he qualified for his first ever state meet.

Moyle sneaked into the top 15 with a 14th-place finish at the state-qualifying meet in Fairfield. When he got to Ft. Dodge, he crossed the tape in 87th place, finishing with a time of 17:54.5.

Brady Millikin, sophomore, Pekin: Millikin ran in the state cross country meet last season as a freshman, placing 48th overall with a time of 17:33.1 and 27th for the Panthers of the runners that were scoring towards the team title. This season, the sophomore speedster started the campaign ranked No. 28 in Class 1A and finished 13th overall at the state meet in a time of 16:50.4 and 7th for the Panthers in the team scoring. This is the first All-GTNS selection for Millikin.

Colten Glosser, junior, Pekin: Glosser has run in the state cross-country meet each of his three seasons for the Panthers, finishing 30th overall as a freshman with a time of 17:36.0 and 31st last season in 17:18.6. This year, Glosser began the season ranked No. 17 in Class 1A before finishing 27th overall in 17:14.8, good for 13th place in the team scoring race. This is the first All-GTNS selection for Glosser.

Evan Horak, senior, Washington: The Demons junior had expressed a goal early this season when he made it known he would qualify for state. A tireless worker, Horak made good on his aim with a 13th-place finish at the state-qualifying meet. Only the top 15 advance. Horak ran a 17:15.71 to make it to state. At Ft. Dodge, Horak ran 18:00.5 to place 94th.

Quinn Schmidt, senior, Mid-Prairie: Schmidt was an integral member of the Mid-Prairie team that finished second at state his junior year and the state championship his sophomore year. He ran a 17;27.9 as a junior at state meet to place 29th.

During this, his senior season, he qualified as an individual for state and ran a 17:36.2 and finished 32nd. To get to state, Schmidt ran a 17:03 at the qualifying meet and placed fifth. The Golden Hawks were fourth as a team to just miss state as only the top three advance.

Alexander Julian, freshman, New London: One of the most promising young runners in Southeast Iowa is New London’s Alexander Julian.

Julian, who runs for the Danville-New London team, was part of a dynamic duo with Danville freshman Ty Carr this year.

Julian joined Carr for the state meet in Ft. Dodge. He crossed with a time of 17:51.2, placing 47th in Class 2A.

GIRLS

Coach: Mark Hostetler, Mid-Prairie: Hostetler was the coach of both the boys and girls All-GTNS teams last season. Mid-Praiairie’s boys won a Class 2A state title in 2016. The girls won last season and this season in Class 2A.

The Golden Hawk girls were ranked first by the Iowa Track and Cross Country Coaches Association for much of the year. They briefly fell in the rankings all the way to fourth while Panorama was ahead of them in third, Williamsburg was ranked second and Crestwood first. The next week it was Williamsburg still first and Mid-Prairie second. Mid-Prairie was back atop the rankings before the state meet. The Golden Hawks defeated Williamsburg by 29 points at the state meet in Ft. Dodge.

Captain: Marie Hostetler, senior, Mid-Prairie: Hostetler has run the fastest time regardless of class at the girls state meet when she finished in 17 minutes, 15 seconds last season. This year’s time was 18:02.1

This season she captured her second consecutive individual championship to go along with the consecutive team championships. Gatorade named her the Iowa Girls Cross Country runner of the Year last season.

Hostetler has been a member of the All-GTNS team now in all three years of her high school career.

She finished seond by almost six seconds to Springville’s Emily Staal in the state-qualifying meet at Tipton, then defeated Staal by over five seconds at the state meet.

She was ranked first all season by the Iowa Track and Cross Country Coaches Association and was the organization’s first pick on its All-State team.

Lexi Brown, senior, Danville-New London: The 2018 season may have been the peak for the Danville-New London girls’ cross-country team, and New London’s Lexi Brown was out in front in nearly every race.

Brown was the leading runner for the D-NL girls, who not only qualified for the Class 2A state meet, but finished in fifth place. Individually, she had a fantastic race, placing eighth overall with a final time of 19:56.

Abby Ryon, junior, Mt. Pleasant: The Mt. Pleasant girls’ cross-country team continued its rise in 2018, and Abby Ryon continued to lead the Panthers all year.

Ryon won her first Southeast Conference title in Keokuk, and qualified for her third-straight state meet. At state, Ryon finished 21st in Class 3A, crossing the line in 19:55.6.

With all but one varsity runner coming back next year, including all seven runners who competed at the state qualifying meet, the Panther girls as a whole will be a team to watch, gunning for their third-straight SEC team title and possibly a spot at state.

Ashley Bloomquist, senior, Fairfield: Bloomquist qualified for the last three state meets as an individual in Class 3A, finishing 21st last season as a junior with a time of 19:33.7. Her senior season began with the running enthusiast ranked No. 15 in 3A, with Bloomquist finishing 27th overall in Fort Dodge in 20:07. Bloomquist has been named to multiple all-GTNS teams and is expected to be a leader in both basketball and track for the Trojans.

Faith Neely, freshman, Van Buren: Neeley qualified for the Class 2A state meet in her first season for the Warriors. Faith finished 13th overall at the qualifying race in Tipton with a time of 20:24.4 and then 16th overall with a time of 20:29.7 at Fort Dodge. Neeley is a first-time all-GTNS selection in her first semester of high school.

Missy Evans, freshman, Mid-Prairie: Missy Evans of Mid-Prairie is a member of the All-GTNS girls team. Evans, who is just a freshman, ran her state-qualifying meet in 19:43 to place sixth and help the Golden Hawks win that meet.

Evans was 14th at the state meet with a time of 20:32.5.

Evans finished the year ranked 19th by the Iowa Track and Cross Country Coaches Association after climbing as high as seventh.

Evans showed no signs of being a freshman as she made her high school debut on the big stage with a time of 21:48 at a Cedar Rapids Prairie meet.

Moriah Brase, senior, Mid-Prairie: Moriah Brase of Mid-Prairie was running times in the high 28s at the beginning of her junior season. The Golden Hawks senior was emblematic of the hard work the Golden Hawks put in. The senior leader ran a 20:14 at this season’s state-quailfying meet to finish 11th and ran 21 flat at state to place 23rd.

Brase was ranked as high as 16th this season and finished the year ranked 26th. Brase was one of three seniors on the Golden Hawks this season.

The 2018 All-GTNS cross-country team was selected by Andy Krutsinger of the Mt. Pleasant News, Doug Brenneman of the Washington Evening Journal and Justin Webster of the Fairfield Ledger