Prep XC: Cougars Take First Regional Title

By Jeff Linder, Reporter

Ashlynn Yokom builds her lead during a Regional/District cross country meet at Tuma Sports Complex in Marion on Thursday, October 18, 2012. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

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By Grant Burkhardt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- It was already a memorable season. It has become a banner season.

With three runners in the top seven, third-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy captured its first regional girls' cross country title in school history Thursday, claiming a 4A championship banner at Tuma Soccer Complex.

A big deal, yes.

"This whole season has been a big deal," Kennedy Coach Mark Jensen said. "This is the first season we've won the Cedar Rapids Invitational, the MVC Super meet, a divisional championship. This was the next goal on our checklist."

One goal remains.

"To bring home a large, heavy object home from Fort Dodge," Jensen said.

That would be a trophy, given out to the top three teams at the state meet Oct. 27 at Lakeside Golf Course.

Kennedy edged Iowa City West, 38-42, for the title. Iowa City High was third with 54 points. Those top three teams advance to state, as do the top 10 individuals.

Led by individual champion Brook Price, City High (35) was the boys' champion, followed by Iowa City West (55). Cedar Rapids Prairie edged Cedar Rapids Washington, 71-74, for the third spot.

A week after getting beat at the wire in the divisional meet on the same course, Price left nothing to chance. He pulled away in the final mile to win in 15:56. Mitch Pritts of Prairie was second in 16:03.

"Last week, that woke me up," Price said. "I'm even more tired today, but I finished a lot stronger.

"We haven't won a district championship since 2004, and it feels great to bring it home to City High."

Each of City High's five scorers finished in the top 13. Chris Ohrt was fourth, Ryan Dorman seventh.

West's Ashlynn Yokom earned a convincing individual crown in the girls' race, breaking away early and cruising to the title in 14:33, 39 seconds ahead of the pack.

It was a raw day at Tuma, with the temperature at 40 degrees, the wind chill around the freezing mark and a drizzle blowing at the runners from the west. Yokom embraced the conditions.

"I love running in the rain," she said. "You just have to drive to push through the conditions."

Yokom ran with a long-sleeved top under her uniform, but no hat, headband or tights.

"I don't want to be too constricted," she said. "It affects my stride."

Kennedy's Allison Culver was second, in 15:12, followed by Katie Wampole (fourth), Alyssa Averhoff (seventh), Lauren Meyer (11th) and Jessica Rodman (14th).

"We're hoping to finish strong," Culver said. "We need our top four to place well, and our fifth runner is coming along."

Kennedy, West and City combined for 13 of the top 14 girls' finishers. Washington's Shannon Gorman was the lone intruder, qualifying individually in fifth.

Prairie beat Washington for the final boys' position because the Hawks were superior at the back. Prairie's No. 7 runner outran Washington's No. 5. Washington's Joe Berry and Etienne Nzoyisaba were fifth and eighth to qualify individually.

(Top 3 teams, top 10 individual advance to state Oct. 27 at Fort Dodge)

GIRLS

Teams -- 1. C.R. Kennedy 38, 2. Iowa City West 42, 3. Iowa City High 54, 4. C.R. Prairie 145, 5. C.R. Jefferson 151, 6. Western Dubuque 166, 7. C.R. Washington 169, 8. Muscatine 191, 9. Waterloo East 295.

Indivdual state qualifiers -- 1. Ashlynn Yokom (ICW), 14:33; 2. Allison Culver (CRK), 15:12; 3. Ellen Carman (ICH), 15:12; 4. Katie Wampole (CRK), 15:13; 5. Shannon Gorman (CRW), 15:18; 6. Molly Leveille (ICW), 15:19; 7. Alyssa Averhoff (CRK), 15:24; 8. Courtney Bruns (ICH), 15:30; 9. Lindsey Bruns (ICH), 15:36; 10. Pombie Silverman (ICW), 15:39.

BOYS

Teams -- 1. Iowa City High 35, 2. Iowa City West 55, 3. C.R. Prairie 71, 4. C.R. Washington 74, 5. Muscatine 149, 6. C.R. Kennedy 156, 7. Western Dubuque 211, 8. C.R. Jefferson 228, 9. Waterloo East 289.

Individual state qualifiers -- 1. Brook Price (ICH), 15:56; 2. Mitch Pritts (CRP), 16:03; 3. Bailey Wetherell (ICW), 16:11; 4. Chris Ohrt (ICH), 16:15; 5. Joe Berry (CRW), 16:15; 6. Isaac Jensen (ICW), 16:16; 7. Ryan Dorman (ICH), 16:24; 8. Etienne Nzoyisaba (CRW), 16:31; 9. Joseph Malanson (ICW), 16:37; 10. Mohamed Traore (ICH), 16:40.

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