Cyclones’ Bieker, Gross race to fourth at Lynx Invite

HCHS girls place third as a team, boys fourth

 COUNCIL BLUFFS (Sept. 5) -- Led by fourth-place finishes from Kaia Bieker and Trey Gross, the Harlan Community cross country girls placed third and the boys took fourth at Saturday’s 51st annual Lynx Invite hosted by Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln.
 The meet was held on the sprawling grounds of Iowa Western Community College and the course measured a bit long on a morning that saw temperatures rapidly climb into the low 80s.
 Southeast Polk, ranked third in Class 4A, won the girls team title with a score of 31, led by a one-two finish from Mattison Plummer and Jenna Francois, who pulled away from the competition in the last mile of the race.
 Glenwood, ranked seventh in 3A, slipped past the fourth-ranked Cyclone girls for second place by a margin of 54-57, followed by Sergeant Bluff-Luton (97) in fourth.
 Lewis Central claimed the boys team title with a 68 to outscore Thomas Jefferson (72) and Le Mars (87). HCHS posted a 104 to earn fourth place over Glenwood (115), which finished 47 points ahead of the Cyclones one week earlier in Glenwood.
 “We didn’t know if we were going to be able to beat them, and I don’t think that they were full strength out there,” HCHS head coach Doug Renkly said of the Rams, “but we wanted to see how close we could get to them and use them as a measuring stick moving forward.”
 Trey Gross, ranked 17th in 3A individually, held off Glenwood’s Andrew Smith by a nose (18:01.28 to 18:01.36) for fourth place behind Aidan Booton of TJ (17:12), Ethan Eichhorn of LC (17:42) and TJ’s Juan Martinez (17:52).
 Also medaling for the Cyclones were Mitchell Rueschenberg (14th) and Ian Shelton (18th). Reed Boardman (30th) and Seth Anderson (38th) rounded out the team score.
 Bieker, Brecken Van Baale and Liv Freund held down the 3-5 spots for a good chunk of the girls race before finishing fourth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in a span of 24 seconds. Also for HCHS, Ellie Gross placed 18th, Abi Albertsen was 25th and Olivia Anderson came in 27th.
 “(Our girls) struggled a little bit in that last half-mile to mile,” Renkly noted. “(They) went out maybe a little bit hot with the Southeast Polk girls and kind of wanted to run with them to see what would happen, and they found out that there’s a lot of race left on that last mile."

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