Xavier ready for tough state-qualifying run today

HS journalism: Saints are at No. 1 West Delaware in 3A meet

The state qualifying cross country meets are today across the state. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
The state qualifying cross country meets are today across the state. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Xavier boys’ cross country team just keeps running.

With the regular season over, the Saints are preparing for the postseason.

The boys’ cross country team hosted the Mississippi Valley Conference meet on Oct. 12 at Seminole Valley Park. Seniors Jon Lansing and John Pape placed sixth and eighth, respectively. The Class 3A, No. 10-ranked Saints beat the 3A No. 4 Dubuque Wahlert, but finished behind two ranked Class 5A teams — No. 3 Iowa City West and No. 9 Linn-Mar.

“We came into the MVC meet confident,” junior Grayson Walther said. “We knew the course and were excited to be able to host.”

Lansing was awarded first-team all conference, Pape and senior Nolan Pithan were awarded second team, and seniors Keaton Maier and Pape were awarded all-academic.

The Saints now are looking for success at the state qualifying meet, which begins at 4 p.m. today at Class 3A top-ranked West Delaware.

“Our goal for the qualifying meet is to win again,” Walther said. “We are competing against the 3A, No. 1 ranked team, so they will push us to do our best.”

With winning experience, the Saints know what to expect heading into today’s race.

“We learned that we can compete with anybody,” Lansing said. “Our team knows that we may not always be viewed as the best team, but we know that we will fight and try our hardest to do the best that we can.”

Last year, the Saints won the qualifying meet and advanced to the state championships. The team placed eighth. Lansing finished 15th and Pape 20th.

The goals are set for this year.

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“My philosophy this year is to ‘just run,’” Lansing said. “I learned that there is a lot of great competition at both meets and that you cannot have a bad race if you want to finish at the top. My goal as an individual is to get top 10 in the state, and our team goal is to do better than last year and hopefully bring back a trophy.”

The state meet is Oct. 28 in Fort Dodge.

The top three teams and 15 individuals from each qualifying meet advance to state.

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