Jensen Vodochodsky and Erin Filloon didn't wait long before earning their varsity spots back on the South Tama cross country teams.
STC freshmen Courtney Anderson and Mallory Thede bumped Vodochodsky and Filloon from the varsity squad by running faster at the BCLUW meet on Sept. 21. When the Trojans next competed, which was at Vinton-Shellsburg on Sept. 24, the freshman Vodochodsky and senior Filloon set personal-best times and should find themselves back on varsity.
"Overall, we ran well and had a number of people that set PRs," STC assistant coach Robert Tyynismaa said. "Jensen Vodochodsky set a PR by about 15 or 20 seconds and Erin Filloon also had a PR. We tried some different stuff with our girls by putting some different girls in our varsity race to see how they would react and perform, because we have several girls that are about at the same level so we're trying some different things there."
Vodochodsky and Filloon both finished in the top 10 at the Vinton-Shellsburg meet. Vodochodsky placed fourth as an individual, running the 4-kilometer course in the time 18:43. Filloon wasn't too far behind in 10th place with a time of 19:00. They led the STC junior varsity girls squad, who finished fifth out of five teams.
Their times in the JV girls race would have made them the third and fourth runners on the STC varsity girls lineup. They would have finished behind senior Taylor Ellenbecker and freshman Allison Yuska, who placed ninth and 22nd in the 4K race. Junior Regina Balderas was the third varsity Trojans in 26th place. Rounding out the varsity lineup was freshman Lauren Yuska (28), junior Ericka Dunning (30), Anderson (31) and Thede (32). The Lady Trojans' team placed fourth of out six full teams.
"It's about finding the right combo," Tyynismaa said. "It's also about seeing how some fo the younger kids respond in a varsity race. Some of it might be related to the type of course that we're running on that day."
South Tama's varsity boys lineup was once again led by junior Robert Tyynismaa and sophomore Blake Keller. Tyynismaa finished fifth, running the 5-kilometer course in 17:38, while Keller placed seventh in the time of 17:45.
Also competing in the varsity race were senior Taylen Anderson (29), freshman Hunter Filloon (34), junior Trevor Yuska (35), senior Jake Theissen (47) and junior Britton Waldo (51). The Trojans finished fifth out of eight teams.
"Blake and Robert ran well," coach Tyynismaa said. "They weren't very far off of the No. 1 runner. What we're still needing is our No. 3, 4 and 5 runners to move up. They were relatively packed up, but we need them to move up as far as placers are concerned, so we can score better as a team."
South Tama competed at Nevada on Monday. STC will next compete in Eldora at the South Hardin Invitational.
"We still have plenty of time ahead of us," Tyynismaa said. "We are still making progress. Some are making more progress than others, but that's typical."