Uncertainty may have existed when the Humboldt High School girl-boy cross country teams began their season three months ago.
But there is nothing uncertain about the Wildcats’ future after wrapping up the 2012 season recently. The Wildcats saw extensive growth in several areas that are fueling optimism for 2013.
That was the message Wildcat head coach Dean Clasen presented at the team banquet held last week (Nov. 6) at the middle school cafeteria.
Clasen, Humboldt’s veteran coach, greeted a squad of newcomers when practice began back on Aug. 6. A total of 13 seniors from the 2011 squad had graduated, including five of the top seven runners from both the boys and the girls’ teams, so it was no secret that Humboldt had a number of positions to fill
“Add to those losses an additional three members of the JV boys team that didn’t return and it was easy to assume that our number of runners would be really low,” Clasen said. “As always seems to happen, we had several upper classmen join the boys team for their first cross country experience and their presence, along with a nice-sized freshman boys class, boosted the boys numbers to 21. More than we had a year ago.”
“The girls’ situation looked pretty grim at the first practice. With just four girls returning from last year’s squad (two of which had been rehabbing injuries) and a lone freshman, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that we might have trouble earning a team score in the upcoming season,” Clasen said.
“By the end of the first week, the recruiting efforts of the tam were rewarded with the addition of three more girls,” Clasen said. “Yet another girl joined us late in the season to bring the total to nine runners for the girls.”
“As the season unfolded, it quickly became evident that all of the girls would be needed to insure having a scoring team. A variety of injuries, most of them chronic, sidelined several of the girls for multiple meets which impeded the progress of the team,” Clasen said. “The boys, on the other hand, remained pretty healthy throughout the season. There were a couple of JV runners who missed meets but those who ran varsity remained healthy enough to run in nearly all of the meets.”
The Wildcat varsity girls were hampered by the absence of junior Karlee Peyton, who sat out much of the season with a stress fracture discovered in one of her feet in late August. Peyton didn’t return until the conference meet in Algona on Oct. 9.
The newcomers came along and saw growth in helping the girls and boys squads compete. The boys finished fifth and the girls were seventh in the conference meet scoring. While the girls saw their three-year reign as NCC champion end optimism prevailed as Clasen continued to be impressed with his team’s improved times and competitive efforts in each race.
Sam Larson, one of the top runners in the area and in the state, finished third in the NCC and later advance to state, where she was seventh overall with a school record time of 14:58.
The squad had just two seniors in Colton Schnetzer and newcomer Ben Wadsley. Schnetzer finished 10th in the conference meet. Wadsley was hampered by a knee injury.
“I think we have a tremendous opportunity to have really good boys and girls teams next year. It’s not unusual for one runner to improve 30 seconds from one year to the next without doing much in between seasons. But getting in 300 plus miles next summer could result in 45 to 60 seconds of improvement,” Clasen said.
“If you look at the state meet times, I think you’ll see that we are not very far away from being able to run those kinds of times,” Clasen said. “For the teams to be as successful as I think they can be, it will take a team effort. Are you willing to commit to an off-season of running to vault us to the top of the standings?”
2012 HUMBOLDT CROSS COUNTRY
Colton Schnetzer, Ben Wadsley.
Sam Larson, Karlee Peyton, Alexis Warden, Michael Bowden, Reed Burres, Keegan Christensen, Austin Flick, Nick Heider, Terence Kiley, Ben Madison, Jacob Miller, Zachary Parle, Will Pogge, Brian Scholl.
Abbey Gargano, Kessa Kuyper, Gunnar Erickson, Connor Fiddler, Demetrius Friedl, Isaiah Mooney, Damian Warden.
Kendra Beaman, Maddie Kampen, McKennon Myott, Caitlyn Wadsley, Alex Copper, Nick Ellis, Collin Flick, Jonathon Schaffer.
Allix Kirchhoff, Elizabeth Skow, Gloria Beltran, Alex Gomez.
North Central All-Conference
Sam Larson, 3rd. Jacob Miller, 4th. Colton Schnetzer, 10th.
Sam Larson, 7th.
Most Improved in 2012
1st race to best race
Caitlyn Wadsley –3:06. McKennon Myott –2:56. Kendra Beaman –2:47. Alexis Warden –2:36. Gunnar Erickson –4:37. Damian Warden –3:05. Austin Flick –3:02. Zachary Parle –2:53.
Most Improved Season average
Compared 2011 ave. to 2012 ave.
Sam Larson -:15 (15:50 to 15:35). Reed Burres –1:33 (21:21 to 19:48). Michael Bowden –1:18 (19:14 to 17:56). Demetrius Friedl –1:04 (20:40 to 19:36).
Tens (ran in all possible varsity races)
Coltron Schnetzer, Michael Bowden, Jacob Miller, Will Pogge, Maddie Kampen, Sam Larson.
Best average team finish
Sam Larson, Colton Schnetzer
Second best average team finish
Maddie Kampen, Jacob Miller
Fastest times of 2012
Sam Larson 14:58. Maddie Kampen 16:18. Caitlyn Wadsley 17:59. Jacob Miller 16:46. Colton Schnetzer 17:04. Michael Bowden 17:15.
Fastest averages of 2012
Sam Larson 15:35. Maddie Kampen 16:53. Abbey Gargano 18:59. Colton Schnetzer 17:43. Jacob Miller 17:46. Michael Bowden 17:56.
Humboldt school records
Sam Larson 14:58. Matt Lindaman 16:00.