Pekin girls win state; Fairfield's Ferrel competes
The Pekin girls have done it again.
The Panthers won their fourth 1A State Cross-Country Championship in the last six years Saturday in Fort Dodge.
Sophomore Gwynne Wright led the way for Pekin, finishing seventh overall with the time of 15:17. Wright came back from an injury this season and regained her form as the season went on. She saved her best for last, anchoring the team effectively on Saturday.
Shea Dahlstrom was not far behind with the time of 15:43 and a 15th place finish. The team scored 81 points overall, which was far ahead of the second place finisher, Pocahontas Area, which scored 113.
“The girls would have been disappointed if they didn’t win it,” Pekin cross-country coach Davis Eidahl said. “They all got up that morning and thought they could win it. They were confident.”
Taylor Lock came in 21st and Taylor Winn got 51st. Sloan Reighard, Payton Lock and Samantha Wright all crossed the finish line soon after. With the exception of Samantha, who is the lone senior on the team, all of the girls will be back to defend their title next season.
“It was just a tribute to the hard work the girls put in the whole year,” Eidahl said.
The Pekin boys earned a 15th place finish out of 15 teams. Austin Fariss led the way by finishing in 18th place with the time of 17:11. Despite the finish, Eidahl is proud of his team for making it as far as they did.
“I give them a lot of credit for making it to state,” Eidahl said. “A lot of teams had to sit at home and [the boys] didn’t.”
With the exeption of two seniors, Christian Little and Clayton Essary, all of the Pekin boys will be back next season as well.
Fairfield’s Taylor Ferrel competed in the 3A girl’s race. She was the only Trojan to make the trip to Fort Dodge, and she finished 51st overall with the time of 16:05. Ferrel was seeking a top 40 finish, but stepping in a hole on the last half mile slowed her down. Ferrel is only a sophomore, meaning she will potentially have two more cracks at this race before her career is finished.
“I was really pleased with how well she ran,” Fairfield coach Jerrod Belzer said. “I know Taylor will work extremely hard, not only to get back to state but to improve on her finish from this year.
“She knows that getting there and running well takes a lot of dedication year round.”
Pekin Girls, Place, Time
Gwynne Wright 7th 15:17
Shea Dahlstrom 15th 15:43
Taylor Lock 21st 15:49
Taylor Winn 51st 16:37
Sloan Reighard 54th 16:39
Payton Lock 88th 17:37
Samantha Wright 109th 18:27
Pekin Girls, Place, Time
Austin Fariss 18th 17:11
Malcolm Myers 76th 18:29
Clayton Essary 93rd 18:54
Ryan Millikin 122nd 20:01
Avery Bennett 123rd 20:06
Christian Little 124th 20:18
Nate Kielkopf 126th 20:45
Team Champions, Division
Dowling Catholic (Girls) 4A
Prairie, Cedar Rapids (Boys) 4A
Decorah (Girls) 3A
Boone (Boys) 3A
Gilbert (Girls) 2A
Monticello (Boys) 2A
Pekin (Girls) 1A
Denver (Boys) 1A