Kuntz, Hamman to represent WC-KP at state
ORANGE CITY — It was a close four-way race in the girls team standings at the Class 2A state qualifying meet held at Landsmeer Golf Club on Thursday. Unfortunately for the WC-KP team, they were left on the outside looking in when the final point totals were tallied, finishing in fourth place when only the top three teams advance to state.
WC-KP had advanced as a team qualifier each of the last three years and were the highest ranked of the teams at the qualifying meet in Orange City, ranked as the No. 7 team.
Cherokee, who came into the meet ranked as the No. 12 team in 2A, finished as team champions with 66 points. An unranked Unity Christian team followed with 71 points. Sibley-Ocheyedan, the No. 10 team in the rankings, scored 74 points which was two points better than WC-KP for the final qualifying spot. Okoboji and George-Little Rock/Central Lyon teams who were designated as teams to watch by the IATC followed with 90 and 151 points.
Cherokee was led to the team title by race winner Kyrstin Agnitsch who finished in a time of 20:19.3.
The top four teams each had one individual within the top four. Sibley-Ocheyedan’s Madison Brouwer was runner-up in 20:43.3 as she finished four seconds in front of Unity’s top runner, Amaya Van Essen.
Another three seconds passed before Kuntz posted the top time for WC-KP at 20:50.3.
“I think I ran good, it just didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to,” Kuntz said.
Sarahy Hamman was the next WC-KP runner to finish, taking the 12th place spot in 21:37.3 as she finished two-tenths of a second in front of Okoboji runner Addison Frerichs.
She described her race as decent considering the conditions.
“For the conditions, not terrible, but I know I could have pushed myself more than I did,” Hamman said. “It feels good qualifying for state, but I wish it was with our team again.”
After running in 80 degree weather at their home meet in Kingsley just over two weeks prior, runners at the state qualifying meet saw cold and damp conditions with temperatures in the 30s and a brisk northerly wind blowing in at around 20 MPH.
“The whole time it just felt like I was going against the wind,” Hamman said. “I knew I kept slowing down and I knew my team needed me so I kept pushing against the wind and kept going as hard as I could.”
Kuntz added the conditions were tough.
“It was like instantly cold and then after that you just had to fight through it,” Kuntz said. “There wasn’t anything you could do about it so you just had to remind yourself that everybody else was dealing with the same thing. You just think about how you’re going to get warmed up at the end.”
Despite finishing behind WC-KP in the team standings, Okoboji will end up sending more runners to state than WC-KP as they got three within the top 15. Along with Frerichs at 13th, Lexi Duffy finished just under a second before Hamman for 11th. Lauren Duffy claimed the final spot in the top 15 in a time of 21:45.4, finishing one spot and just over three seconds faster than WC-KP’s Sarah Putze.
Mary Putze took the 20th place time in 22:12 and the fifth runner for the team standings for WC-KP was Kalyn Cameron in 24th at 22:35.
Completing the team’s seven competitors were Hannah Rogers, who was two places and just over two seconds behind Cameron, and Lillian Ofert, who ended 35th in the 87 runner field with a time of 23:12.8.
The WC-KP boys team had only five runners and ended up not being able to tabulate a team score after one of the team’s runners was disqualified.
Collin Verschoor ran what would have been the 44th fastest time, but was disqualified.
Tristan Jessen was the team’s top finisher, taking 40th in 19:42.2. Carson Seuntjens and Marshall Benson ended back-to-back for the 68th and 69th place spots. Seuntjens finished just over a second in front of his teammate with a time of 21:53.7. Caedon Colbert was the team’s final runner with an 88th place time of 23:54.5.
Sheldon’s Brendan Cain led the 91 runner field with a winning time of 16:43.2.
Western Christian claimed the team title as they had all seven of their runners within the top 20, led by a runner-up finish for Tage Hulstein. George-Little Rock/Central Lyon and Unity Christian claimed the other two team qualifying spots.
This will be the third time at state for Kuntz and Hamman. They are scheduled to run on the second day of the two-day state meet this year. The Class 2A girls are scheduled to run at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
As the 29th ranked individual in Class 2A by the IATC, Kuntz is looking forward to her run at state.
“Just run your hardest and do your best, that’s all you can ask for,” Kuntz said. “With this season being kinda crazy, just be healthy, show up and be happy that you’re there and just count your blessings that you get to do that.”
Hamman was a medalist at last year’s state meet with a 13th place finish.
“I’m just looking for a better time,” Hamman said. “Just the atmosphere there with everybody cheering us on the whole time, just makes me forget about the pain for a little bit so I feel like I do way better. I hope I improve and finish my season off strong.”
Team scores: (Girls) Cherokee 66, Unity Christian 71, Sibley-Ocheyedan 74, WC-KP 76, Okoboji 90, George-Little Rock/Central Lyon 151, Sioux Central 234, Western Christian 246, West Lyon 256, Spirit Lake 279, West Sioux 304, Estherville-Lincoln Central 314, Sheldon 352, OABCIG NA.
(Boys) Western Christian 42, George-Little Rock/Central Lyon 84, Unity Christian 114, Okoboji 118, Sheldon 150, Spirit Lake 151, Cherokee 207, Sioux Central 241, West Lyon 243, OABCIG 279, West Sioux 312, Estherville-Lincoln Central 318, Sibley-Ocheyedan 329, WC-KP NA.