Topham leads Peabody-Burns to second in HOA showdown

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Peabody-Burns boys took second place at the Heart of America League cross country meet it hosted Thursday.

Teams from Goessel and Canton-Galva competed as well.

In the boys’ division, Sedgwick won the team title with 40 points, followed by Peabody-Burns with 48. Goessel captured fourth.

Peabody-Burn standout Andrew Topham won another race, this time in 17 minutes, 31 seconds over the 5-kilometer course.

“Topham is amazing,” Warrior coach Tony Zappone said. “He is an extremely dedicated and focused athlete who trains hard and trains smart.

“Many colleges will be knocking on his door next year.”

The Warriors had two other medalists: Duane Unruh (seventh, 19:59) and Jacob Wolf (11th, 20:12).

“Jacob started training long before the start of the cross-country season,” Zappone said. “As a result, he’s improved a great deal and shows great potential within the sport.”

Also running for Peabody-Burns were Robert Rossberg (16th, 20:29), Ryan Wiebe (17th, 21:09), Kendall Wiebe (24th, 22:02), Seth Methvin (39th, 23:08), Ethan Riggs (42nd, 23:22), Jesse Riggs (45th, 24:02), Dane Lau (54th, 25:50) and Joe Zappone (58th, 29:48).

For Goessel, Evan Fast led the way with a medal-winning fifth-place finish in 19:46.

“I thought all of the runners did well yesterday,” Goessel coach Greg Bontrager said. “Evan is definitely running well.”

Also running for Goessel were Kellen Jenkins (18th, 21:23), Brady Peters (21st, 21:30), Casey Wedel (27th, 22:07), Anthony Esau (37th, 23:05), Jake Schrag (36th, 23:00), Chris Johnston (49th, 24:19), Travis Duerksen (53rd, 25:12) and Sam Lehrman (56th, 27:20).

“Our No. 4 runner, Cameron Voth, is injured and will not be able to run at regionals, so the guys will have to really pick up their pace next Saturday,” Bontrager said. “They have the ability. We will see what happens.”

For Canton-Galva, Brandon Shannon was the front runner with a sixth-place finish.

“Brandon had another great race,” Eagles coach Lyle Silsby said. “(Brandon) is really running strong right now and that’s just what he wants heading into regionals next Saturday.”

Also running for the Eagles were Travis Myers (29th), Joseph Unruh (30th), Riley Nigh (32nd), Andy Otte (33rd) and Martin Falkenberg (50th).

“Riley is just a freshman, but he stepped up and ran his best race of the season and knocked almost a minute off his best time,” Silsby said. “The kids put forth a really good effort.”

In the girls’ division, Remington finished first and Hutch Trinity captured second. Peabody-Burns placed sixth.

Leading the way was Alyssa Carter, who placed 16th over two miles in 14:37.

Also running for the Warriors were Ashley Elliott (26th, 15:18), Jennifer Schmeling (33rd, 16:04), Jacqueline Benjamin (41st, 17:07), Samantha Pickens (48th, 19:48) and Erica Frederick (49th, 20:36).

For Canton-Galva, Caitlin Nelson placed 14th to earn a medal.

“It wasn’t her best time but she had been limited in training over the last two week (because of a leg ailment) so it was really a great effort,” Silsby said.

Also competing for the Eagles were Alyssa Koehn (19th), Kelly Arendt (36th), Lynn Volkman (40th), Leah Lawless (43rd), Sheri Volkman (46th) and Morgan Ashpole (50th).

“Alyssa just missed medaling but ran well,” Silsby said. “Kelly is also finally healthy but has been limited in practice. She shows great promise for next year.

“We have some really strong runners in our league and the kids stepped up and challenged pretty well.”

For Goessel, Janessa Wedel finished 20th in 14:57 while teammate Jitka Vitova placed 37th in 16:35.

Next Saturday, area cross-country teams will compete in regionals. Canton-Galva travels to Meade while Goessel and Peabody-Burns compete at Lake Afton near afternoon.

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