Country miles: The Ledger looks back at recent cross-country memories
A rich tradition and a rich crop of youthful runners will return to cross-country trails in a matter of weeks to run through a season that will culminate with the state cross-country meet in Fort Dodge Nov. 1.
With another season upon us, The Ledger looks back at runners who stomped out their own paths to success, while at the same time making us wonder if they were crazy for running such insane distances. Here are six memorable years when area runners made an impact:
2000 – Coach Roger McHone led the Fairfield boys’ squad to its first state meet as a team. The Trojans won the Southeast Conference meet and five meets overall.
Sophomore Graham McCaleb finished 12th overall at the state meet, just two spots from acquiring All-State status. McCaleb and his teammate Jason Maurice would both be selected to the All-Golden Triangle News Service team, and so would their coach. Both runners returned to the All-GTNS team in 2001.
2001 – Long-time Pekin coach Davis Eidahl instructed the Panthers to a team district title. Megan Raap won the SEISC meet and the district meet, and would go on to place 15th at state. Raap would be joined by teammate Sarah Johnston on the All-GTNS girls’ team. Johnston and Pekin both would make more noise in the coming years than they did in 2001, however.
2003 – Maurice would finish 15th at the state meet and get selected to his third straight All-GTNS boys’ team. Teammate Drew Gorski joined him on both the All-GTNS team and at the state meet, where he finished 18th. Gorski had won the Southeast Conference meet just days prior and also finished fourth at districts.
2004 – The Fairfield boys went to the state meet for a school record fifth straight season. The Trojans would also experience their best finish yet, placing fourth at Fort Dodge. A new crop of leaders, mainly Gavin Jones and Michael Leach, led Fairfield not only to state, but also to the team’s first ever district championship.
Fairfield was not the only school to have success in 2004. Pekin’s Johnston would make the All-GTNS team for the fourth straight season and place 10th at the state meet.
2006 – Long-time Fairfield girls’ cross-country coach Ron Hunerdosse took his first team to the state meet in the past 11 seasons in what would prove to be his last at the helm. The team didn’t have superstar runners, but were deep and competitive throughout the lineup. Amanda Melcher made the All-GTNS team after finishing in the top five in six different meets. Melcher finished 58th at state and was named All-SEC for the second year running.
2013 – For the fourth time in six seasons, the Pekin girls won the Class 1A State Championship. The Panthers won by a total of 32 points, therefore second place Pocahontas Area did not come close to competing with Pekin.
Sophomore Gwynne Wright led the way for Pekin, finishing seventh overall with the time of 15:17. Shea Dahlstrom, Taylor Lock and the rest of the Panthers were not far behind. Wright, Dahlstrom and Lock would each be named to the All-GTNS team, along with Fairfield’s Taylor Ferrel, who finished 51st at the 3A level.
All-GTNS Boys Coach Selections
2013 – Mark Hostetler, Mid-Prairie
2012 – Angie Strobel, Highland
2011 – Angie Strobel, Highland
2010 – Marty Gingerich, IMS
2009 – Marty Gingerich, IMS
2008 – Marty Gingerich, IMS
2007 – Mark Hostetler, Mid-Prairie
2006 – Alan Peck, Mt. Pleasant
2005 – Mike Jay, Columbus
2004 – Roger McHone, Fairfield
2003 – Roger McHone, Fairfield
2002 – Mike Jay, Columbus
2001 – Mark Hostetler, IMS
2000 – Roger McHone, Fairfield
1999 – John Schutt, MSAE
All-GTNS Girls Coach Selections
2013 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2012 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2011 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2010 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2009 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2008 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2007 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2006 – Ron Hunerdosse, Fairfield
2005 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2004 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2003 – Marty Gingerich, IMS
2002 – Denny White, Mt. Pleasant
2001 – Davis Eidahl, Pekin
2000 – Denny White, Mt. Pleasant
1999 – Denny White, Mt. Pleasant