Topham races to victory in HOA meet

Harvey County East Lake was the setting for the Heart of America League cross-country meet Thursday.

Area teams fared well in both the boys’ and girls’ divisions.

The Peabody-Burns boys captured second place, Goessel finished third and Canton-Galva placed fifth. The Peabody-Burns girls took second.

Andrew Topham won the 3.1-mile boys race in 16 minutes, 48 seconds-42 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.

Also medaling for the Warriors was Duane Unruh (14th, 18:58), Jacob Wolf (17th, 19:07) and Nicholas Whitney (18th, 19:08).

Also competing were Derek Benson (21st, 19:35), Maximilian Stralka (25th-20:02), and Christian Bengtsson (26th-20:04).

Goessel had four runners in the top 20, led by Evan Fast in 18:25. Also earning medals were Zach Plenert (11th, 18:36), Kellen Jenkins (12th, 18:43) and Brady Peters (15th, 19:02).

Also competing were Cameron Voth (31st, 20:39) and Jake Schrag (37th-21:38).

“All of our runners did a fantastic job,” said Bluebird coach Greg Bontrager.

Leading the Canton-Galva boys was Brandon Shannon, who earned a medal by placing 11th in 18:26.

“Brandon ran one of the strongest races of the season,” coach Mark Martens said. “He’s definitely ready to compete at regionals.”

Also running for the Eagles were Randy Schafer (22nd, 19:49), Brandon Scott (29th, 20:15), Travis Myers (30th, 20:17), Billy Prickett (32nd, 20:44), KaCee Kremeier (33rd, 20:52) and Joseph Unruh (34th, 20:52).

“Randy Schafer turned in his best performance of the year by 37 seconds,” Martens said. “And Brandon Scott once again broke through with a 1:15 personal record.

“For a new program with young, inexperienced runners, this team has really come a long way,” he added.

Among the girls, Tiana McGee was the top finisher for Peabody-Burns, completing the 2-mile course in 13:19.

Three other Warriors finished among the top 15: Kate Topham (4th, 13:33), Ashley Elliott (9th, 14:00) and Alyssa Carter (14th, 14:21).

Also competing for Peabody-Burns was Stephanie Vetter (24th, 15:43), Samantha Pickens (29th, 17:20) and Anna Zappone (31st, 23:11).

Janessa Wedel, Goessel’s only runner, placed 16th in 14:25.

For Canton-Galva, two runners earned medals: freshman Caitlin Nelson was 10th in 14:04 and sophomore Alyssa Koehn was 13th in 14:17.

Also running for the Eagles was Sherri Volkman who placed 25th in 16:12.

“Caitlin and Alyssa approached the league meet with high expectations and a commitment to run together and push each other,” Martens said. “It paid off for both young runners.”

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