FORT DODGE, Iowa — Andy Campbell has taken 11 teams to state in his 19 years as the boys cross country coach at Shenandoah.
None of them fared as well as the Mustangs did on Saturday.
The smallest school in Class 3-A came up big, placing fifth with 194 points. Decorah won the 3-A crown under brisk, pleasant running conditions at the Lakeside Golf Course in Kennedy Park.
“Since I’ve been here, I think eighth is the best we’ve finished,” Campbell said. “Coming in (to 3-A) and competing with those guys, I think we represented our community, our conference, very well.”
Also from the Hawkeye Ten, the Harlan Community girls matched the Shenandoah boys, placing fifth in 3-A as well. Senior Jessica Feldman led the way with an 11th-place finish.
For the fourth-rated Shenandoah boys, seniors Sean Skillern and Zac McCoy set the pace, finishing 17th and 42nd, respectively. Sophomores Joe Blake (50th) and Nate Hoyt (62nd), and senior Kyle Hiser (68th) completed the Mustang scorers.
“I think we ran pretty typical of our finish order,” Campbell said. “It sure would be nice to be one of those top three to get a trophy, but it’s been a great year.”
In addition to the aforementioned three, the Mustangs also will graduate Kyle Fischer.
“It will be a huge loss, losing those guys,” Campbell said. “They’ve been great leaders for us.”
The 10th-ranked Harlan girls, making their ninth straight state appearance, celebrated their best team finish since a runner-up showing in 2006. Feldman took 11th with a time of 15:05.
Also scoring for the squad running in matching neon yellow socks were sophomore Marissa Klindt (42nd), freshman Mercedee Mayberry (44th), junior Bailey Kuhl (37th) and senior Dru Beach (66th).
Feldman, rated No. 9, had been aiming for a top 10 placing and a medal in her senior year. She fell short of that goal on the final stretch after maintaining ninth place the majority of the way.
“I felt really good until the last 800 meters,” Feldman said. “I started feeling it. I started to kick too early, I think, and someone passed me.”
Coach Doug Renkly said he told Feldman that she isn’t allowed to be disappointed. After all, he consoled her, “You’re running in pretty tall corn.”
The team should boost her spirits as well.
“I always felt if we put together a decent race and everybody’s happy and healthy, I think we’re going to be there,” Renkly said. “Boy, they put together some great times today. Perfect day to run. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Also in 3-A, the Sioux City Heelan boys placed seventh and were led by eighth-place finisher Alec DeVries. On the girls side, Heelan was 10th and Shenandoah/Essex 13th.