Lamb earns all-district honors, headed back to state
PELLA — Place or go home was the choice many area cross country runners faced Thursday.
Trojan senior Jessica Lamb chose the former.
Running in cold and rainy conditions, Lamb punched her ticket to the state meet with a fourth-place finish at the regional meet in Pella. Her time of 16:08 beat out 77 other runners as she finished 19 seconds behind winner Gabi Meirick of Pella.
The top-10 finish was extra sweet for Lamb, who had watched her season come to a premature end the past two years due, in no small part, to injury and illness. Lamb is the first Trojan to qualify for the state meet since she took the trip to Fort Dodge her freshman year.
“I can’t say enough about Jess’ effort last night. She’s worked extremely hard to get where she’s at and unfortunately has had some bad luck the past couple years,” said Fairfield head coach Jerrod Belzer. “Nobody wanted to get back to state as bad as she did, and I’m very proud of the work she’s put in throughout her career.”
Lamb also helped Fairfield to a fifth-place finish in the team standings. Behind Lamb, the Trojans had two additional runners in the top 30 and another three in the top 50 to score 152 points.
A week after earning all-conference honors, freshman Taylor Ferrel finished 28th in 17:22, and senior Hannah Sobaski followed right behind in 29th (17:27) to wrap up her stellar season and career. Senior Sage Richmond was 45th (18:29), while sophomore Tracy Andermann completed the team score 46th (18:34).
Freshman Abby Melcher had one of her best performances of the year, finishing 47th in 18:35, and senior Brianna Redmann was 60th in 19:09.
Although Lamb won’t be accompanied by the rest of her teammates at state — the top three schools advance — the fifth-place finish demonstrated major year-to-year improvement for the girls’ squad.
“Finishing fifth was a great step for our girls program,” Belzer said. “We lose a lot of seniors next year, but Melcher, Ferrel and Andermann played a big part in our team, and I look forward to having them back for a few more years.”
Pella placed three girls in the top 10 and won the girls’ event with 52 points. Grinnell (62) and Williamsburg (80) also qualified for the state meet.
In the boys’ race, the Trojans finished 12th out of 13 teams with a final score of 313. Clarke edged them by one for 11th place.
Only one second separated Brandon Taglauer from fellow senior Randy Andermann to lead the Trojan boys. Taglauer was 45th in 19:29 and Andermann took 46th at 19:30.
Matt Carr completed the 5-kilometer course 72nd in 20:44, Trevor Starnes was 74th (21:03) and Makena Dettmann rounded out the team score in 76th place (21:13). Jonah Marks finished 82nd (21:49) and Darrin Dimmitt was 83rd (22:00).
“Our boys didn’t have the finish that we hoped for, but I felt like they competed hard all season and they all have a lot to be proud of,” said Belzer. “Again, the seniors will be missed next year but we have a few guys coming back that have the ability to fill in those varsity spots pretty well.”
Wick Cunningham of Knoxville won the boys’ race with a time of 16:43, and Pella claimed the district scoring 40 points. The Little Dutch will be joined at the state meet by Grinnell (86) and Knoxville (94).
Lamb has a little more than a week off before running at the state meet, scheduled Oct. 27 at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge. Start time for the Class 3A girls’ event is noon.
Class 3A State-Qualifying Meet @ Pella
Final Team Standings — Boys
1. Pella 40, 2. Grinnell 86, 3. Knoxville 94, 4. Williamsburg 136, 5. Benton 143, 6. Oskaloosa 143, 7. South Tama 173, 8. Nevada 200, 9. Carlisle 248, 10. Centerville 288, 11. Clarke 312, 12. Fairfield 313, 13. Chariton 381
Final Team Standings — Girls
1. Pella 52, 2. Grinnell 62, 3. Williamsburg 80, 4. Benton 137, 5. Fairfield 152, 6. Nevada 161, 7. South Tama 192, 8. Oskaloosa 209, 9. Knoxville 255, 10. Carlisle 291, 11. Centerville 291, 12. Chariton 328
All-District — Boys
1. Wick Cunningham (Knoxville, 16:43), 2. Evan Jones (Pella, 16:54), 3. Skylar DeJong (Oskaloosa, 16:58), 4. Luc Moisan (Grinnell, 17:14), 5. Payton Busch (Centerville, 17:18), 6. Tyler Steele (Benton, 17:19), 7. Spencer DeJong (Oskaloosa, 17:21), 8. Michael Schemm (Pella, 17:25), 9. Wade Pingel (Pella, 17:31), 10. Ben Warner (Pella, 17:33)
All-District — Girls
1. Gabi Meirick (Pella, 15:49), 2. Olivia Gallo (Grinnell, 15:57), 3. Bailey Blythe (Oskaloosa, 16:07), 4. Jessica Lamb (Fairfield, 16:08), 5. Victoria Kleven (Pella, 16:12), 6. Kelsey Kupka (South Tama, 16:13), 7. Miranda Hammes (Benton, 16:28), 8. Cassidy Schacher (Centerville, 16:31), 9. Ashley Kirkland (Pella, 16:34), 10. Shannon Mullnix (Williamsburg, 16:35)
45. Brandon Taglauer (19:29), 46. Randy Andermann (19:30), 72. Matt Carr (20:44), 74. Trevor Starnes (21:03), 76. Makena Dettmann (21:13), 82. Jonah Marks (21:49), 83. Darrin Dimmitt (22:00)
4. Jessica Lamb (16:08), 28. Taylor Ferrel (17:22), 29. Hannah Sobaski (17:27), 45. Sage Richmond (18:29), 46. Tracy Andermann (18:34), 47. Abby Melcher (18:35), 60. Brianna Redmann (19:09)