Building on their recent fortunes, the St. Edmond boys delivered another quality showing at the 34th annual co-ed state cross country meet on Saturday.
Making their fifth appearance at Lakeside Golf Course in the past six years, the ninth-ranked Gaels finished fifth in the Class 2A team race with 185 points, narrowly edging out No. 8 Center Point-Urbana in a tiebreaker. Top-rated Monticello (52) easily repeated as champions, while No. 2 North Polk (132) settled for second.
"I was happy with how we ran (yesterday)," said SEHS head coach Mike Szalat, whose squad turned in a program-best third-place state performance in 2011. "We stepped up our game as much as anyone else, but it just wasn't quite enough. With the way the state meets have been going lately, you almost need to have every single person run a (personal record)."
Fourth-ranked senior Seth Reel anchored the Gael lineup once again with a seventh-place individual effort, clocking a mark of 16:06.
Reel, a school record-holder, 2012 North Central Conference champion and defending district gold medalist, previously placed 52nd in the 2A state field as a sophomore and sixth in the 1A event as a junior.
"I went out too slow and had way too much left at the end," Reel said. "I knew everyone else would come out and give it their all, though, so I can't complain."
Junior Casey McEvoy (43rd, 17:10), senior Colten Lastine (47th, 17:14), sophomore Jacob Hamilton (69th, 17:37), sophomore John Eide (79th, 17:47), freshman Harrison Mayer (98th, 18:14) and sophomore Nate Yetmar (118th, 19:09) rounded out the list of St. Edmond participants. Junior Kaden McClintock remained sidelined with a nagging hip injury.
"Seth is a little down in the dumps right now, but he still had the fastest time anyone has ever had for us at state," Szalat said. "He's also only the third boy in school history to place in the Top-10 of the state meet (Mike Seymour and Nate Kolacia were the others) and the first one to do it twice.
"Casey and Colten both had (personal records) as well, Jacob had the best fourth time we've ever had, and John had the fastest fifth time. Kudos to Harrison, too, for breaking the tie (over Center Point-Urbana's sixth-best finisher)."
Despite losing a pair of reliable seniors, the outlook remains bright for the Gaels.
"We're really going to miss Seth and Colten, but we have five guys coming back and a solid jv," said Szalat. "Hopefully, we can keep this machine rolling right along."
Spirit Lake's No. 1 Will Norris, a runner-up here last fall, captured the individual 2A state title in 15:25. Gilbert's third-ranked sophomore Thomas Pollard - the son of Iowa State University Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard took home silver with a time of 15:36.