With a very deep boys cross country squad this season, chosing a seven person roster for the post season was a bit difficult for Pella coach Doug Cutler, but he says they believe they have the seven best runners set to go for today’s District meet in Knoxville.
It’s expected that just like last week’s Little Hawkeye Conference meet, Knoxville, Pella and Grinnell will be the top three dominant teams, and it’s just a question of who finishes where. This is the third time this season Pella has competed on the Pine Knolls course, which Cutler says gives them some added confidence.
As deep as their squad was this season, they’re still pretty young with five sophomores and two juniors running, and one of those juniors is competing in cross country for the first time. He says they’re still finding their identities, and if they all click at once they may win the meet, and surprise some people with what they’re capable of.
Knoxville is top ranked in Class 3A, while Grinnell is ranked sixth and Pella seventh. Individually, Jamie Vanderveer of Knoxville is ranked ninth in Class 3A, and Zach Buchheit of Pella is right behind him ranked 10th, also two runners from Grinnell are in the top 25.
On the girls side, Pella is a favorite to win the meet and again Cutler says they plan to use their experience on this course to their advantage. He says for some of the teams coming in, this will be the toughest, hilliest course they’ve competed on, but like Knoxville, Pella is very familiar and comfortable with the course, plus their home course at Central College is also very tough and hilly which helps prepare them.
The 13 team girls race features two top 10 ranked teams as Pella is ranked sixth and Williamsburg is eighth. Individually Pella sophomore Gabi Meirick is the highest ranked runner at 12th while Williamsburg also has a runner ranked in the top 25. The top three teams and top 10 individuals will advance to the Class 3A state meet October 30th in Fort Dodge