TIPTON — Area runners racked up numerous miles this summer in preparation for the fall cross country season.
Tuesday, all three Observer-area cross country teams were able to relive some of that summer heat and humidity during the annual Tipton Invitational.
Temperatures sat in the mid-80s for the 18-team event and felt even warmer due to the humidity.
Even so, area squads combined for three top five team finishes.
The Northeast boys led the way, putting all five of their scoring runners in the top 50 to finish as the runner-up with 116 points.
That was a single point better than third-place Camanche — the seventh-ranked team in Class 2A — as the Rebels used their depth to sneak by the Indians.
The hosting Tigers — top-ranked in 2A — cruised to the team title with 35 points.
Solon was fourth with 136 points, while Calamus-Wheatland used a personal-best time by junior Chase Knoche to take fifth with 152 points (Central DeWitt was 10th with 219 points).
With a pair of runners in the top 10, the Central DeWitt girls took third (82 points) in their race, just two points back of 1A No. 11 Iowa City Regina.
Solon — the 10th-ranked team in 3A — took the team crown with 54 points. Northeast, meanwhile, was seventh with 152 points.
The Rebels did produce the girls top finisher as freshman Cenady Soenksen set a new personal-best with a third-place clocking of 21:27.
Central senior Carly Small was 16 seconds better than her winning performance at the Schoolhouse Open and took sixth with a time of 21:40.
That was just four seconds ahead of senior teammate Kyleen Irwin, who ran her best time of the season — 21:44 — to finish eighth.
A third Sabers senior, Hannah Payne, gave Central a third runner in the top 25 as she finished 23rd in 23:29 — her top time of the season by nearly 30 seconds.
Northeast freshman Grace Ketelsen had her own personal-best time — 23:18 — to finish two spots ahead of Payne in 21st.
Sabers sophomore Mason Lange was 30th overall in 24:17 and junior Kami Zeimet finished off Central’s team score with her 33rd-place time of 24:26 — a season-best.
Junior Madi McAvan was 43rd (25:25) and freshman EmmaGrace Hartman wrapped up the Sabers day with her time of 25:32.
Northeast freshman Faith Ketelsen gave the Rebels their third runner in the top-40 with a 38th-place clocking of 25:09, while freshman Natalie Krogman ran her best time of the season — 27:03 — to finish 57th.
Junior Emma Ketelsen finished off the Rebels’ day, taking 76th in 35:51.
Battling two of the top three ranked runners in Class 2A — top-ranked Caleb Shumaker of Tipton and third-ranked Dylan Darsidan of Camanche — Knoche, ranked 11th in 1A, broke 17 minutes for the first time in his career, finishing third overall in 16:53 (Darsidan won in 16:43, Shumaker was second in 16:45).
Joining Knoche in the top 10 was Northeast senior Andrew Hilgendorf, who finished seventh overall with his clocking of 17:44.
A pair of Cal-Wheat seniors were the next area runners across the finish line.
Brett McCartt was 14th overall in 18:35, while Chandler Gannon finished right behind him in 15th with his clocking of 18:39.
Northeast junior Nathan Ketelsen was the fifth area runner to finish in the top 20, taking 19th in 19:00.
His Rebels teammate, Thomas Machande, was eight seconds back in 21st and junior Jace Rathje gave Northeast four runners in the top 30 — only Tipton was able to match the feat — with his 29th-place time of 19:46.
Senior Chad Williams wrapped up the Rebels’ team score with his 49th-place clocking of 20:44. Freshman Daniel Rowland was 57th (21:20) for the Rebels, while junior Zebediah Cox took 78th in 22:47.
Cal-Wheat junior Seth Beuthien was 35th in the race with a time of 20:22, while freshman Cole VanderHeiden capped off the Warriors’ team score with his 98th-place clocking of 27:02.
Senior Tanner Naeve cut more than 30 seconds from his time a week earlier to lead the Sabers. Naeve finished 25th overall with a clocking of 19:30.
Junior Jack Campbell added a 44th-place clocking of 20:35, while sophomore Blake Gerard gave Central three runners in the top 50 with his clocking of 20:39, good for 47th.
Just a single second, meanwhile, separated three different Sabers. Freshman Matthew Watters and sophomore Briar Baxter both finished in 21:31 to wrap up Central’s team score, while senior Brandon Burken was right behind them in 21:32.
Senior Karsen Kettwick finished off the Sabers’ day, taking 73rd with his time of 22:05.
The area had a pair of runners in the top 10 of the JV girls race.
Sabers freshman Reagan Hofer led the way with a seventh-place time of 24:56, while Northeast sophomore Annika Regenwether was right behind her in eighth.
Central senior Anna Fielding added a 14th-place time, while fellow Saber Colleen Klostermann was 20th.
Cal-Wheat freshman Nina Gonzalez led the way for the Warriors, finishing 18th in 27:07.
Northeast junior Joe Hasken was sixth in the JV boys race, clocking in at 19:51, while senior Ezra Onken led the way for the Sabers with his 14th-place time of 21:08.