McMurray, Arkland push WCHS boys to fifth at home invite

WEBSTER CITY – He can live with it.

That was the message Webster City head cross country coach Tony Bussan essentially delivered to his boys’ squad yesterday as the sun set on the Lynx Invitational at The Links.

With a new varsity squad just getting its feet wet against a field of sluggers, WCHS performed adequately enough to finish fifth with 181 points. The Lynx failed to crack the top 30 individually, but six runners finished among the first 44, and that was about what Bussan expected.

“We’re right where I thought we were in terms of what I’d seen in practice,” Bussan said. “I think we had a solid effort and the kids really cared.”

The field was smothered by Algona and Boone, who duked it out at the front for bragging rights. Boone claimed the first and second individual spots, but an eye-popping pack of four Algona runners placed fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh to send the Bulldogs to the team championship.

Algona finished with 32 points to Boone’s 38. Fort Dodge Senior (65) took bronze and St. Edmond (103) was fourth.

“Holy God, that team race was one of the best I’ve seen,” Bussan said. “Kudos to Algona for winning against a really tough Boone squad.”

Boone’s talented duo of Albert Meier and Chandler Austin separated from the field at the mile mark. Meier eventually turned on the jets and steamed away from his teammate to the win in 15:43.85. Austin (16:24.85) coasted to second, some 41 seconds behind Meier.

Austin is the reigning 3A state champion, while Meier was the runner-up last fall.

Adam McMurray and Brandon Arkland swapped the team lead for WCHS for much of the 5-kilometer race before McMurray took charge and placed 32nd in 19:22.07. Arkland wasn’t far behind in 34th at the 19:29.77 mark.

Seth Crouthamel (19:41.92), Jacob Perin (19:56.81) and Demar Lemus (20:04.00) all cracked the top 40 for the Lynx. Crouthamel was 36th, Perin 39th and Lemus 40th.

“We’re a team that’s going to have to be better as the season goes along and that’s our tradition,” Bussan said. “If we do that, we’ll go from being a mid-pack team to a front-third of the race kind of team.”