BELLEVUE — At full strength for the first time, the Calamus-Wheatland boys cross country team took advantage of a fast course at Tuesday’s Comet Invitational.
Competing a day later, due to the weekend’s heavy rains, the Warriors had all five of its state meet veterans produce season-best times to bring home the team title with 45 points.
That was 14 points better than Camanche, while Northeast used five season-bests of its own to top the hosting Comets for third with 82 points (Bellevue was fourth with 102).
Cal-Wheat junior Chase Knoche led the way, breaking 17 minutes for the second time this season with a personal-best 16:28 to take third behind the two top-ranked runners in Class 2A (No. 1 Dylan Darsidan of Camanche won the meet in 16:18, while No. 2 Brady Griebel was second in 16:20).
Joining Knoche in the top 10 and just missing his own spot in the top five was Cal-Wheat senior Chandler Gannon, who was sixth overall in 17:40 (his first time under 18 minutes this fall).
Fellow senior Brett McCartt was 11th in a personal-best time of 17:58 and he was followed close behind by junior Magnus Sands, who shined in his return to the lineup with a 12th-place clocking of 18:04.
Junior Seth Beuthien wrapped up the Warriors’ victory, taking 16th in a personal-best 18:40 (Beuthien would have provided the third-best time to every team in the field except Camanche).
The next runner across the finish line after Knoche was Northeast senior Andrew Hilgendorf, who finished right at 17:00 — the second-fastest time of his career.
Rebels junior Thomas Machande broke 18 minutes for the first time in his career to join Hilgendorf in the top 10 with a 10th-place clocking of 17:57.
Junior Jace Rathje added a 20th-place time of 19:01 — his season-best — while fellow junior Joe Hasken was 25th in 19:17 and senior Chad Williams was just two spots back with his time of 19:34 (both were season-bests).
Freshman Daniel Rowland added a clocking of 20:19 to finish 33rd, while Jarod Berggren was 57th in 23:54.
The Northeast girls also saw a big drop in their times.
Freshman Cenady Soenksen dropped under 21 minutes for the first time in her young prep career, taking second to Marquette Catholic’s Halle Kilburg with a time of 20:33.
Fellow freshman Grace Ketelsen dropped more than a minute from her previous-best time in her sixth-place finish of 22:15.
Natalie Krogman made an even bigger drop, taking 18th in 24:43, while junior Emma Ketelsen ran her best time of the season — 33:31 — to finish 40th.
The Rebels had the top two finishers in the junior varsity girls race as well with Annika Regenwether winning in 24:46 and Emi Feller taking second in 25:56 (Cal-Wheat junior Emma Bopp was seventh in a career-best 29:18).
Both the Rebels and Warriors had two runners in the top 10 in the boys JV race.
Just a single second separated Cal-Wheat junior Eduardo Carriegas and Northeast senior Riley Anderson, who finished second and third, respectively, in 21:25 and 21:26.
Cal-Wheat freshman Jacob Weih added a seventh-place time of 21:53, while Northeast junior Zebediah Cox was ninth in 22:05.