Ames Cross Country Impresses at State



Ames girls and coaches cradle their trophy.

7:15 AM on October 29, a school bus sat outside the entrance of the athletics complex on 24th street. It was pitch black, but the headlights illuminated the steps into the bus. One-fourth of the girls’ cross country team and part of the boys team loaded onto a bus headed north. The interior was furnished with blinking fairy lights, brightening it just enough to see the excitement painted on the students’ faces. Before the clock could strike 7:30, the bus began its haul to the Iowa Cross Country State Meet in Fort Dodge. 

Near 9 AM, the Ames runners and fans stepped off the bus; this was the first time in a few years that the girls’ team was seen as a whole at the state meet. It was a 40-degree day with unpleasant winds reaching 20mph, making the temperature seem even lower. The sun hid away, failing at its job to warm the runners. The herd of people watching attempted to keep warm by layering up, drinking warm beverages, and eating accessible grilled food. Our own runners raced in shorts and an Ames jersey. It would be a fight to keep warm. 

During the race, the crowd sped back and forth from mile markers, cheering for their school. After 17 minutes passed, hundreds of people rushed to the finish chute, forming a tunnel. Our girl’s team consisted of Claire Helmers, Marley Turk, Lauren Risdal, Payton Stewart, Sydney Turk, Kiah Snyder, and Nyadio Chan. Ames finished 3rd place, rocking the false place predictions. Ahead of us was Dubuque Hempstead and Pleasant Valley. 

The performances from all 7 of our girls were outstanding. Claire Helmers came in first for Ames and her grade with a time of 18:57.87, placing 10th overall. Not far behind were the other two freshmen, Marley Turk and Lauren Risdal. Next came Sydney Turk and Payton Stewart. Kiah Snyder and Nyadio Chan both finished in under 22 minutes. 

Girls and coaches are presented with a bronze trophy on balcony. (Left to right: Sydney Turk, Marley Turk, Lauren Risdal, Payton Stewart, Nyadio Chan, Kiah Snyder, Claire Helmers, Leola Almquist, Mia O’Connor-Walker, Claire Galvin, Coach Jo, Coach Sandra, Coach Schmaltz, Coach Anderson. (PC: Unknown)

Sophomore Charlie Bennet, the individual qualifier on the Ames Boys team, placed 84th with a time of 17:24.05.

Charlie Bennett mid-race. (ACSD)

Even with this outstanding victory, training continues for the top five girls, who have chosen to compete in the Nike Cross Regionals this weekend in South Dakota. Make sure that on Sunday, November 14, you send good luck their way as they run their hearts out one last time this season.