Hawk girls hold their own in large one-class field at Humboldt

HUMBOLDT – The flat course at the Humboldt Country Club was replaced by the wooded and hilly terrain of Joe Sheldon Park for the Humboldt Invitational yesterday, and the change took a toll on times posted.

“They wanted to make the course challenging, so they moved it and that’s fine,” South Hamilton head coach Darrell Paulsen said after his eighth-ranked (Class 1A) girls placed fifth and 10th-ranked boys took 16th. “It was a difficult course and that will only help us later in the season.”

The one-class meet featured 17 girls’ squads and 18 on the boys’ side. The Hawks went up against a slew of bigger schools, but that didn’t intimidate the girls, who placed all five scoring runners in the top 42 in the field of 125 competitors.

“I think the girls were kind of nervous with the fact that it was a new course and there were some hills, but I thought they ran well,” Paulsen said.

The Hawks posted 159 points, trailing meet champion and host Humboldt (70), as well as fifth-ranked (1A) Pocahontas Area (70), Algona (85) and No. 14 (1A) Emmetsburg (133).

Kayla Lucas was the first team member to coast past the finish line; she was 13th in 17:13.

Meghan Fisher (18:04) and MaKayla Monthei (18:05) were separated by just a step en route to 34th- and 36th-place finishes, respectively. Rachael Huegerich (18:06) was in the mix as well in 38th, and Kali Lucas (18:13) was 42nd.

“All of our scoring girls were within a minute of each other, so that was good,” Paulsen said.

The South Hamilton boys’ team competed without leader Jacob Heeren, who felt ill prior to the race. His absence was certainly a factor in the Hawks’ inability to contend.

“Not having Jacob obviously hurt, but I thought (the boys) ran pretty well,” Paulsen said after the Hawks posted 404 points. “All of the guys ran in a pack and that’s where we’re going to need them down the road.”

Jacob Ratzke (20:14) placed 71st in the field of 123 to pace the squad. Drake Thompson (20:23) was 76th, Hunter Johnson (20:28) 80th, Jordan Toillion (20:29) 88th and Luke Jacoby (20:51) 89th.

Second-ranked (3A) Boone claimed the boys’ team crown with 44 points. No. 4 (3A) Algona was second with 62.