South Tama's cross country teams once again showed signs of improvement at their latest meet.
The Trojans competed at the BCLUW meet on Saturday and left with positive results, according to coach George Kuhter. The varsity boys finished second to Grinnell, but the varsity girls didn't have a team score as only four runners finished.
Leading the varsity boys was sophomore Robert Tyynismaa. He finished fifth and ran the 5-kilometer course in a time of 18:26.11. Following him and running his first varsity race was freshman Blake Keller, who placed eighth and ran 18:44.68.
Senior Brady Ellenbecker was the next STC runner to finish. He placed 11th in a time of 18:51.29. One of the best races came from sophomore Surrell Youngbear, who finished 19th and ran 19:11.98. Rounding out the varsity boys lineup was senior James Norton (42nd, 20:51.46) and junior Taylen Anderson (54th, 21:51.17).
"Our boys are coming along and the big test for them is going to be at Vinton this week," Kuhter said. "We finally get to run against some new faces and see where we stand against other top 3A teams. BCLUW was a confidence boost, but the boys need to realize that we have not run a full lineup yet. I cannot wait for the next couple weeks to see how far we have really progressed."
South Tama's varsity girls ran well but only four runners finished the race, so the Trojans didn't have a team score. Senior Kelsey Kupka once again led the Trojans. She placed 10th and ran the 4-kilometer course in a time of 17:02.7.
Sophomore Naomi Hoskey was next for the Trojans. Hoskey finished 20th and ran 17:52.95. Junior Regina Balderas placed 33rd for STC as she ran 19:07.98. Junior Erin Filloon was the other STC runner who finished. Filloon placed 45th in a time of 19:53.75.
"Everyone ran very well," Kuhter said. "Taylor (Ellenbecker) is having her health problems so we did not score in the girls varsity again, but i was surprised how well Naomi Hoskey ran. The girls are starting to gel as a team and at Vinton our times should improve and so should our team finish.
"I know that Kelsey and Taylor usually get the headlines, but I have to applaud Erin Filloon, Regina Balderas and Naomi Hoskey," he added. "All three of these girls ran very well the past week and I think if they continue to improve like they have, we should be in the running for the conference title."
In the junior varsity races, the boys finished fourth out of six teams. Junior Jake Theissen led the way with a 17th place finish and a time of 21:25.74. Also running the JV race were freshman Andrew Kajer (30th), sophomore Isaisis De la Torre (36th), sophomore Kade Steuhm (40th) and sophomore Britton Waldo (44th).
South Tama's JV girls finished fourth as a team. Sophomore Ericka Dunning led the Trojans as she finished 24th in a time of 20:17.76. Following her were senior Natasha Musgrave (28th), senior Grace Kavalier (33rd), junior Brittany Bear (41st) and freshman Sacarro Mendoza (45th).
STC also had some middle school runners compete at the meet. Running for the STC girls were Lauren Yuska (4th), Lauren Gumm (20th), Jensen Vodochodsky (22nd), Kaitlin Berger (24th), Allison Yuska (29th), Shae Slaven (39th) and Mahala Doyle (41st). The girls finished second out of five full teams to Benton in the team standings.
On the boys side, STC finished fifth as a team. Competing for the Trojans were Hunter Filloon (11th), Jake Wilkerson (30th), Ian McFate (47th), Thayne Lamb (49th) and Wyatt Hintermeister (50th).
"Our unheralded Middle Schoolers ran very well," Kuhter said. "It is seldom seen where they have the spotlight to themselves, but I think Hunter Filloon, Jake Wilkerson, and the other boys will continue to get stronger and stronger. The girls are just running as well as their varsity teammates. Working side by side with the varsity day in and day out has done them some good, because they can see what success looks like and they can emulate that in their racing. All of the Middle School girls are so young, that by the time they are seniors, we should have a pretty good bunch."
South Tama competed at Vinton-Shellsburg on Tuesday. The results will be in next week's Toledo Chronicle.