The Bravettes Cross Country team is on to state for the first time in 38 years! Also qualifying individually were sisters, Elise Boulton, 5th and Mia Boulton, 10th. Congrats to the team and coaches! Also, a shout out to the Braves Cross Country team on its 5th place finish at districts! The co-ed Iowa State High School Cross Country meet was held Saturday, Oct. 31 at Kennedy Park in Fort Dodge. Submitted photo
by Kevin Gartman
The Montezuma Cross Country teams competed at Guthrie Center High School on Friday afternoon for a state qualifying meet hosted by Adair Casey-Guthrie Center (ACGC). After a day of postponement due to heavy rain, the Braves and Bravettes traveled back across the state to the west for a chance to compete to head to state in 35 degrees with 15-20 mph winds. Despite the adverse conditions, the Montezuma teams were ready to run.
Competing first, the varsity girls ran in one of the deepest qualifying sites in Class 1A, with as many as five teams in the mix to be one of the top two to advance to state. In Class 1A state qualifying this season, a reduced field advanced from eight sites due to covid regulations, with teams needing to be top two and individuals needing to be top ten to advance to state competition. Senior Elise Boulton paced the Bravettes individually, punching her ticket to her fourth state tournament qualification in as many years as she will cap off a record-breaking career on Saturday, October 31st in Fort Dodge. Sophomore Mia Boulton took care of business herself, running her new fastest 5K time of her career at state qualifying, claiming the tenth automatic qualifier spot and punching her ticket to the state competition as well.
With two individual spots claimed, the question remained about the remainder of the varsity girls team and whether or not they could claim a stake in the state meet as a team. Finishing 23rd on a sprained ankle was sophomore Madison Johannes, running one of her strongest times of the season, followed shortly behind by junior Rebeka Teumer who ran this year's strongest time on the biggest stage yet. Looking for a solid fifth individual finish, Haley Van Der Hart stepped up in a big way, competing for the first time after a two-week break, Haley ran a competitive fifth time, capping the five varsity girls scorers. Sixth and seventh runners Carmen Klos, competing for the first time in three weeks, and freshman Makenna Johannes outpaced several runners in the district, allowing Montezuma to surge ahead of many schools' scoring runners. The Bravettes were announced as a state qualifier, placing second in the district to host ACGC, claiming the second spot by eight points over a strong, pack-running Collins-Maxwell team.
The 2020 state meet appearance marks the third in history for the Bravettes, and the first appearance since the 1982 team which placed fourth. Of the 16 teams to make state, the Bravettes are the second-smallest public school, and 1 of only 7 with Class 1A classification in all sports. The Bravettes will run Saturday, October 31st, at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge at 3:30.
Showing tremendous improvement in their own right, the Montezuma Braves boys team had a strong team showing on Friday as well. Senior Brydon Henning placed 16th individually, just missing the individual qualifier cut. Freshman Carter McKee finished second for the Braves with his new career best time, followed by senior Cam Johnson who finished his career with a new career best 5K as well. Sophomore Gavin Strong placed fourth for the Braves, freshman Jack Erselius finished fifth with a tie of his career best 5K time, sophomore Colton Benson finished sixth with his strongest time of the season, and freshman Jayden Ross also set a new career-best 5K as well.
As a team, the varsity boys placed 5th in their state qualifying site, beating three teams that they had not beaten throughout the course of the season, and claiming their first top five finish in a boys cross country state qualifying site in over 20 years. With only two of the seven varsity boys having competing in high school cross country, the future is bright for these Braves and their heads should be high. Special thanks to boys' seniors Brydon Henning and Cam Johnson for the leadership and dedication to the program, bringing excitement and growth to a sport that is gaining traction in the halls of Montezuma.