It’s the time of the year that Anamosa cross country coach Ken Sunseri has been building his team towards all fall long, and the Raiders didn’t disappoint in their final regular-season meet of a successful 2021 campaign in Manchester Tuesday, Oct. 5.
“We had tons of PRs today, and everyone went out and gave me all I could ask for,” said Sunseri, as his class 2A 19th-ranked boys’ team scored 304 points to place 12th at the incredibly loaded 21-team West Delaware Invitational power-meet.
“One of my team members told me after the races that everyone ran really good today, but no one ran their best. I thought that summed things up perfectly. Yes, we had a lot of personal-records today on a course that doesn’t normally give up too many of those, but we also have a bunch of kids who I think are still reaching their potential. There are going to be better days ahead, and today in Manchester was a pretty good one.”
Leading the charge for the Anamosa boys was junior Shea Keister, who returned to form coming through with a huge performance placing 24th against the 151-runner field posting a sizzling time of 17:25.
“I was very happy with what Shea was able to accomplish against that kind of field,” said Sunseri, as Keister went toe-to-toe against runners from nine other state-ranked programs,
“Shea ran a very smart race and did a great job of not slowing down as much as the other runners did down the stretch. He was able to have more left in the tank and went by people who were flat-out running out of gas. Honestly, I think Shea is just now learning what his role is with or team, and it’s showing. Last year his role was to just develop. Now, he’s becoming more of a leader with Drew (Pate), and the two make a fantastic 1-2 combination and have allowed us to be one of the top teams in 2A for most of the season.”
Pate added an outstanding performance of his own placing 36th overall after his 17:49 clocking.
“Both Drew and Shea are sub-17 runners,” Sunseri said. “They’re slowly getting there, and hopefully they’ll be able to show us that in the next couple of meets here.”
Another runner adding to the depth of the Raider boys’ roster has been freshman Seth Countryman, who once again added to his impressive resume with an 18:09 clocking in Manchester, good enough to place 49th overall.
“Seth’s progression this season has been very good,” Sunseri said. “I’m very happy with how he’s running right now and he makes our team stronger, no doubt. Being a freshman, this has been a learning process all fall long for Seth, now we’re going to need him to put in the work in the off-season to take that next step as a runner.”
Tristan Weers came through with one of his top efforts of the season placing third on the Anamosa team and 98th overall after crossing the finish line with a time of 19:20 while Gabe Wilmoth wasn’t too far behind placing 103rd after his 19:31 effort.
Carver Reiss (106th, 19:35) and Caleb Loehr (107th, 19:35) added to the Raider pack running as the team defeated North Fayette Valley (330 points), Cascade (351), West Delaware (376), Vinton-Shellsburg (409), East Buchanan (489), Alburnett (508), Maquoketa (542), Beckman (547) and Independence (557).
Class 2A second-ranked Tipton dominated the impressive field scoring a mere 57 points to win the team title while 3A fourth-ranked Western Dubuque (122), 3A seventh-ranked Mount Vernon-Lisbon (137), 2A 11th-ranked Clear Lake (145) and 3A 13th-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock (148) rounded out the top-5 teams in the standings.
The girls’ field in Manchester was almost as competitive as the boys, as seven state-ranked programs hit the course as Anamosa tallied 420 points to place 16th against the 18-team field led by Leah Sleep’s 23:13 clocking, good enough to place 69th individually.
“Leah’s been a 23-runner all season long and hopefully soon she’ll realize she’s more of a 22-runner,” Sunseri said. “Mickala (Herrick) was right behind her too. Every girl but one had a PR in Manchester, which again, is what we want to see at this time of the season.”
Herrick was second on the team and 77th overall after coming through with a time of 23:44 while Ava Scranton (92nd, 25:08), Maggie Wagner (98th, 25:25), Emma Whitson (99th, 25:30) and Elise Broghammer (104th, 25:55) all came through with season-best times with Sleep and Herrick. Caelyn Helgens added a 29:20 effort that was 122nd overall.
The Raider girls defeated Maquoketa (450) and last-place Oelwein (503) at the meet that was won by 3A second-ranked Western Dubuque, who tallied 89 points to edge runner-up and 3A 10th-ranked Mount Vernon-Lisbon (96). 2A fourth-ranked Tipton (97), 3A 16th-ranked Center Point-Urbana (113) and 2A seventh-ranked Jesup (115) rounded out the top-5 teams in the girls’ standings.
Anamosa showed the future is bright with a strong showing from the JV boys in Manchester, as the Raiders tallied 174 points to place sixth against the 19-team JV field.
Jack Troester led the way for Anamosa crossing the finish line 21st overall against the 160-runner field posting a time of 19:24 while Jacob Loehr added a 36th-place performance in 20:13. Braeden Keister was right on Jacob Loehr’s heels scoring a 20:16 clocking that had him 38th overall while Gio Lopez returned to the course and added a 20:46 effort that was good enough to place 56th overall.
Sean Hollett (72nd, 21:14) and Skylar Hollett (109th, 22:30) added to the solid Anamosa JV boys’ performance that trailed only Mount Vernon-Lisbon (15), Clear Lake (96), Western Dubuque (105), Center Point-Urbana (126) and West Delaware (128).