Prep Sports

Cedar Rapids Prairie girls' cross country team chases history Thursday

Young and hungry Hawks pursue their first state appearance

Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Laurdyn Meyer (right) races to the finish line with Cedar Rapids Washington’s Reagan Gorman in a track meet last spring. The Prairie girls are trying to qualify for the state cross country meet for the first time in program history. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Laurdyn Meyer (right) races to the finish line with Cedar Rapids Washington’s Reagan Gorman in a track meet last spring. The Prairie girls are trying to qualify for the state cross country meet for the first time in program history. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Cross-country success at Cedar Rapids Prairie has been almost exclusively male-centric.

Clad in those distinctive checkerboard uniforms, the Prairie boys have made Fort Dodge a regular late-October destination.

The girls, if they have gone at all, have gone to watch.

“It’s always the boys that get talked about, and they deserve it,” Prairie sophomore Laurdyn Meyer said.

This year, the girls are forging their own identity and hope to earn their own path to state — for the first time in program history.

Run to their potential, and they’ll do it. Triggered by a surprising runner-up finish at the Mississippi Valley Conference meet two weeks ago, a young and hungry Prairie squad has vaulted to No. 8 heading into Thursday’s Class 4A state-qualifying meet at Pleasant Valley.

“We want to make history,” Coach Corrie Enyart said. “This season has been really weird. We’ve had meets canceled because of the weather, and we’ve had kids sick. But we’re running well right now, and we’re ready.”

State-qualifying meets — five in each class — are Thursday. The top three teams and the top 15 individuals from each site advance to the state meet, Oct. 27 at Lakeside Golf Course.

Judging by rankings, Prairie’s girls are projected to finish second to Pleasant Valley on Thursday, with Iowa City Liberty and Dubuque Hempstead also in contention.

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The Hawks could be forgiven for a little jealousy toward the boys’ program. Instead, “they’re inspiring to us,” Enyart said. “(Boys coach) Bill (Schwarz) has such a legacy. I’m so fortunate to have their program to watch and learn from.”

Enyart’s roster Thursday will consist of one junior (Carli Reittinger, who splits time between cross country and volleyball), three sophomores and three freshmen. Meyer and freshman Gabby Cortez were ninth and 10th and the MVC meet.

Meyer qualified individually last year, placing seventh.

“I asked if she wanted to get more familiar with the course, and she said no, she just wanted to run on instinct,” Enyart said.

Meyer said, “When I talk about the race beforehand, it causes more stress. I know what I need to do. That’s the mindset that works for me.”

Noelridge Park is the site for a 1A/4A doubleheader, starting at 3 p.m. The Noelridge field features 28 1A schools, plus most of the Metros in 4A.

Three defending girls’ individual state champions — Adrianna Katcher of Center Point-Urbana, Marie Hostetler of Mid-Prairie and Emily Staal of Springville-Central City — will attempt to nail down berths to return. Katcher will run in a 3A meet at Manchester; Hostetler and Staal will go head-to-head in a 2A race at Tipton. Springville-Central City is up a class from 1A last year.

State qualifying cross country meets

4 p.m. Thursday unless noted

Top 3 teams, top 15 individuals from each site advance to state, Oct. 27 at Lakeside Golf Course, Fort Dodge

Class 4A

At Cedar Rapids (Noelridge) — Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Washington, Clinton, Dubuque Senior, Iowa City High, Linn-Mar, Muscatine, Western Dubuque.

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At Marshalltown — Ames, Ankeny Centennial, Fort Dodge, Iowa City West, Marshalltown, Mason City, Newton, Waterloo, Waukee.

At Pleasant Valley — Bettendorf, Burlington, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Davenport Central, Davenport North, Davenport West, Dubuque Hempstead, Iowa City Liberty, North Scott, Pleasant Valley.

Class 3A

At Fairfield — Clear Creek Amana, Davenport Assumption, DeWitt Central, Fairfield, Fort Madison, Grinnell, Keokuk, Marion, Mount Pleasant, North Polk, Notre Dame-West Burlington, Solon, Washington.

At Manchester — Anamosa, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Center Point-Urbana, Charles City, Decorah, Dubuque Wahlert, Hampton-Dumont/CAL, Independence, Maquoketa, Mount Vernon-Lisbon, Vinton-Shellsburg, Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware.

At Pella — Benton Community, Bondurant-Farrar, Carlisle, Centerville, Dallas Center-Grimes, Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR, Knoxville, Nevada, Norwalk, Oskaloosa, Pella, Saydel, South Tama.

Class 2A

At Monticello — Bellevue, Camanche, Cascade, Dike-New Hartford, Dyersville Beckman, Jesup, Monticello, North Cedar, North Fayette Valley, Northeast, Oelwein, Sumner-Fredericksburg, Union Community, Waterloo Columbus.

At Tipton — Central Lee, Danville-New London, Davis County, Eddyville EBF, Louisa-Muscatine, Mediapolis, Mid-Prairie, Monroe PCM, Pella Christian, Springville-Central City, Tipton, Van Buren, West Liberty, Williamsburg.

Class 1A

At Cedar Rapids (Noelridge), 3 p.m. — Alburnett, Belle Plaine, Bellevue Marquette, Clarksville, Clayton Ridge, Conrad BCLUW, Denver, Don Bosco, Dunkerton, East Buchanan, Edgewood-Colesburg, Elkader Central, HLV, Isaac Newton Christian Academy, Janesville, Lansing Kee, MFL MarMac, Midland, Nashua-Plainfield, North Butler, North Tama, Postville, Riceville, South Winneshiek, Tripoli, Turkey Valley, Valley Lutheran, Wapsie Valley.

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At Iowa City — BGM, Calamus-Wheatland, Cardinal, Clinton Prince of Peace, Columbus Community, Durant, Easton Valley, English Valleys, Fort Madison Holy Trinity, Highland, Iowa City Regina, Iowa Mennonite, Keota, Lone Tree, Maquoketa Valley, Montezuma, Moravia, Moulton-Udell, North Mahaska, Pekin, Rivermont Collegiate, Sigourney, Starmont, Twin Cedars, WACO, Wapello, Wilton, Winfield-Mount Union.

At Marshalltown, 3 p.m. — Ankeny Christian Academy, Baxter, Belmond-Klemme, Central Springs, Collins-Maxwell, Colo-Nesco, East Marshall, Garwin GMG, Hudson, Interstate 35, Iowa Christian Academy, Lake Mills, Lynnville-Sully, Madrid, Martensdale-St. Marys, Mason City Newman, Melcher-Dallas, Meskwaki, North Iowa, North Linn, Northwood-Kensett, Ogden, Rockford, Saint Ansgar, South Hamilton, Southeast Warren, Wayne, West Fork, West Hancock.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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