At the end of a busy week, on top of an early morning after a home football game, South Tama's cross country teams ran well and improved times Saturday.
Five of the six STC squads had enough runners to complete a team score. Four of those finished in the top half of the standings, while the other placed right in the middle at the South Hardin Invitational.
"I thought we ran very well considering that the week was kind of a mess due to homecoming," coach George Kuhter said. "Overall we looked at this as a progress meet towards conference. All four teams ran very well as did the middle schoolers. I think everyone on the girls side was at or close to their seasonal bests."
South Tama's varsity boys finished fifth out of 10 teams Saturday. STC scored 125 team points, which was two points behind Webster City and one point ahead of Iowa Falls. East Marshall won the meet with 50 points.
Junior Robert Tyynismaa and sophomore Blake Keller once again led the Trojans with top-10 finishes. Tyynismaa finished fourth out of 71 runners, while Keller placed ninth. Senior Taylen Anderson (32nd place) and freshman Hunter Filloon (38).
"For the boys may have been the best they ran all year," Kuhter said. "Everyone started out well and ran a very strong middle of the race. Robert kept moving up the whole way and he and Blake are progressing very well toward the goal. To be where we are right now is very encouraging. As long as we keep making progress, we will be fine."
The Lady Trojans also ran well on Saturday. They placed sixth as a team out of 12 full teams. The Lady Trojans totaled 165 team points, which was two ahead of North Tama. South Hardin won the varsity girls race with 68 points.
Senior Taylor Ellenbecker remained the top runner for South Tama. She finished 14th, as she ran the 4-kilometer course in 16:36. Just 32 seconds behind her, which is the closest gap it's been all season, was freshman Allison Yuska, who placed 22nd. The next two STC runners were junior Regina Balderas (36) and freshman Jensen Vodochodsky (42).
South Tama also had success in the junior varsity girls race with three runners in the top 10. They were freshmen Courtney Anderson (4), Mallory Thede (5) and Shae Slaven (8). Anderson and Thede ran fast enough to be the seventh runner on the STC varsity lineup.
"The girls all ran very well," Kuhter said. "I an especially proud of the group of freshmen we have. They keep improving and by the end of the season we will have a tough decision to make as far as a varsity lineup for conference. To have 10 girls close to 18 minutes is phenomenal. ErinFilloon stepped up today and ran the race of her season. She was determined to do well here and she ran an exceptional race. Kristi Lasley, Mahala Doyle and Kaitlin Berger also ran very well. These three have been part time runners the past few weeks, but today they stepped up and did an outstanding job. I am proud of the girls and how well they turned things around from a less than spectacular meet at Nevada to today."
In the middle school races, the South Tama boys finished third and the STC girls placed fourth, both out of seven schools. The STC boys were two points shy of second place. Top finishers for the STC boys were seventh grader Lucas Wilkerson (14), seventh grader Cameron Klostermann (17) and seventh grader Logan Wilkerson (22). Leading the STC girls were seventh grader Stephanie Slaven (37), eighth grader Lauren Gumm (38) and eighth grader Esmerelda DeLa Torre (39).
South Tama will be competing in Montezuma on Thursday.