Fort Dodge head boys and girls cross country coach Tim Hanson knows that he will need to see some excellent times to seriously compete throughout the year.
Along with going to several elite meets across central Iowa, the Dodgers compete in the CIML, which has brought home several individual and state team titles in recent years.
This season, Fort Dodge boasts six returning letterwinners on the boys side and four on the girls. Hanson knows that the key will be early in the season when the most time improvements can be made.
Messenger photo by Dale Wooten
Fort Dodge boys cross country
returning letterwinners include, front row (left to right): Devon Schuster, Thomas Thompson and Tim Springer. Back: Aaron Brandt, Alex Jackson and Nic Ganzeveld.
"We had our time trial this past weekend at our Fort Dodge Dodgers 5K Road Race and I think our boys are already ahead of schedule compared to last year," Hanson said. "Some of our runners ran personal bests and I am really pleased with the efforts I have seen already - and throughout the summer."
Sophomores Thomas Thompson and Alex Jackson will lead the way after a trial-by-fire last year as ninth graders. Jackson earned all-CIML Iowa Conference second team honors on the soccer pitch last spring.
"Thomas and Alex are already ahead of their best times from last year," Hanson said. "Cross country is all about running as close as a pack, and we'll need to do that once again this season."
FORT DODGE CROSS COUNTRY
Seniors - Cal Brandt, Brandon Daniels, Zac DeLanoit, Seth Dolan, Andrew Johnson, Nathan Moore.
Juniors - Nic Ganzeveld, Desmond Green, Dalton Holdredge, Mitchel Kloss, Aric Lehrkamp, Tanner Smith, Tucker Van Weg.
Sophomores - Aaron Brandt, Nick Campbell, Alex Jackson, Rob Leigh, Steve Liao, Alex Markov, Chase Messerly, Austin Read, Bryce Rogers, Devon Schuster, Jim Springer, Thomas Thompson, Derick Wilson, Lance Williamson.
Freshmen - Ian Crowl, Riley Helmers, Hank Haldin, Brandon Lee, Jake Power, Jacob Schreier, Cayden Taylor, Peter Lyon.
Seniors - Amberly Habhab, Bryanne Kasperbauer, Laura Nerhich, Sarah Rethwisch.
Juniors - Amy Barkley, Madison Bodholdt, Sydney Crotts, Madeline Westerhoff.
Sophomores - Taylor Chansler, Taylor Hintch, Becca Sunken.
Freshmen - Stephanie Ferguson, Alex Hays, Katrina Olson.
(All meets are girl/boy and begin at 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
Aug. 28 - at Webster City Invitational.
Sept. 6 - at Marshalltown Invitational, 4:30 p.m.; 11 - at Storm Lake Invitational; 17 - at Humboldt Invitational; 20 - at Mason City Invitational; 24 - at Algona Invitational.
Oct. 4 - Fort Dodge Invitational, 4:30 p.m.; 11 - at CIML Invitational in Marshalltown, 2:30 p.m.
Juniors Nic Ganzeveld and Tanner Smith, along with sophomore Austin Read, round out the top-five as it stands. Devon Schuster, another 10-grader, is hot on the trails of Read, while senior Seth Dolan rounds out the varsity lineup.
For the girls, junior Madison Bodholdt and senior Bryanne Kasperbauer lead the way. Both are currently working to get back to 100 percent, according to Hanson.
"Madison will get better each week," Hanson said. "Bryanne is still working out some kinks that she sustained during the latter parts of track (last spring) that didn't really heal."
After those two upperclassmen, it will be a lot of fresh faces for the Dodgers.
Sydney Crotts, a junior, is new to the team and currently running in the No. 2 position. Sarah Rethwisch, Amberly Habhab, Madeline Westerhoff and Becca Sunken are all in line to see varsity action off the bat.
Fort Dodge opens its season on Aug. 28 at the Webster City Invitational. The Dodgers will host their own invite on Oct. 4.
The state meet, which will be held once again at Lakeside Golf Course, will take place Oct. 27.