Newton Cross Country

Oskaloosa's Patrick DeRonde (center) and Pella's Josiah Wittenberg (right) race in Newton.

NEWTON — Some good runners were in town for Newton’s Invitational. Oskaloosa, Pella and Knoxville races against good competition as Norwalk swept the boys and girls team races.

“This is a really tough meet year in and year out and this year was no exception,” Oskaloosa head coach Michael Comfort said. “Norwalk, DCG, and Pella are some of the top teams in the state and will compete for the state title this year.”

The Oskaloosa boys took fourth place as a team with 112 points. Patrick DeRonde led the way with a seventh place finish and a time of 17:29.

Behind DeRonde was Caden Ayala (23rd, 18:51), Phillip Abrahamson (26th, 19:29), Aden Scott (27th, 19:42), William Leonard (29th, 19:53), Keygan Roberts (34th, 21:15) and Lawson Morris (36th, 21:22).

“I thought the boys held their own and ran really well,” Comfort said. “I was proud of the effort and they did a great job with their pack at this meet. Patrick finished seventh in a really tough field. A lot of those runners will compete for All-State later in the year and he beat some quality runners. I was also really proud of our JV boys team. They also finished 4th and had only a 48 second gap between their first five runners. Both boys teams represented Osky well!”

The boys of Pella took third place as a team with 64 points.

Josiah Wittenberg had a strong showing, taking fifth with a time of 17:25. Tony Schmitz also cracked the top 10, finishing 10th with a time of 17:47.

Nathan VanderWaal (13th, 17:58), Chase Lauman (16th, 18:13), Akira Lopez (20th, 18:29), Branden Rowe (25th, 19:27) and Levi Van Dusseldorp (33th, 20:53) rounded out the Dutch lineup.

"Our varsity boys were eagerly anticipating a chance to race the defending 3A Champs, Dallas Center Grimes," Pella head coach Douglas Cutler said. "In that anticipation, I fear too much energy was spent thinking about their team, and not focused upon our own performance. Our second mile was what just wasn't strong enough. With that said, I am proud of what I saw in the last mile. After the race was clearly determined, I still saw determination and grit to finish the race with our best effort on that day. We will learn from this race, we will grow from this race and we will come back better than ever. Junior Akira Lopez and Freshman Nathan Vander Waal were particularly impressive today. These guys expect a great deal from themselves and from each other. They will pull greatness from each other as the season progresses."

Knoxville took sixth place with 139 points.

Their runners were Seth Walraven (14th, 18:06), Max Purvis (24th, 19:27), Carson Irving (30th, 20:05), Kaden McGill (32nd, 20:34), Peter Picard (39th, 21:34), Joey Hembrook (41st, 22:07) and Henry Picard (42nd, 22:38).

On the girls side, Oskaloosa also took fourth as a team with 104 points.

They would place three in the top 15 with Anna Coniglio (8th, 22:48), Addi Carter (11th, 23:02) and Sage Adam (15th, 23:41).

Olivia Stodghill (33rd, 26:22), Morgan Drost (37th, 27:08), Trisha VanDonselaar (39th, 28:23) and Abby Lumsden (40th, 28:54) also ran for the Indians.

“Our girls didn’t run quite as well as I’d hoped,” Comfort said. “Anna, Addi, and Sage did a great job for us as all three finished in the top 15. We had a large gap to our four and five runners. That is something we need to work on in order to become a complete team. Our JV girls also finished fourth and ran well.”

The Lady Dutch showed well with a second place finish and 51 points.

They placed two girls in the top with Autumn Blink taking fourth at 22:16 and Macy Schroeder right behind her in fifth at 22:17.

Ashley Blommers (12th, 23:02), Abigail Cutler (14th, 23:25), Jacie Trine (16th, 23:41), Sophia Boonstra (20th, 24:04) and Tess Paulsen (25th, 25:00) also all had strong showings for Pella.

"Freshmen Autumn Blink and Macy Schroeder took big steps to discovering what they are capable of placing fourth and fifth in the Varsity race," Cutler said. "Seniors Ashley Blommers and Abigail Cutler struggled, mostly from tired legs from two weeks of tough training. They have better days ahead, but in the meantime, it was great to see our freshmen perform well when the team needed them to. The Norwalk girls are a great team, so no shame in placing second to them. Freshman Jacie Trine, Sophia Boonstra and Tess Paulsen performed admirably for their first time on a difficult course."

Knoxville took fifth as a team with 116 points but Norah Pearson is back impressing in the front of the pack. Pearson would lead the charge for the Panthers with her second place finish and a time of 20:30.

Finishing behind her was Natalie Collins (27th, 25:40), Olivia Maasdam (28th, 25:57), Jalen Nelson (29th, 26:01), Tanna Davis (30th, 26:06), Faith Roozeboom (32nd, 26:18) and Taylor Jones (34th, 26:25).

Oskaloosa, Pella and Knoxville will all be back in action on Tuesday at the Knoxville Invitational.

Colin Peters can be reached at 641-672-2581, by email at or on Twitter @ColinPetersOH.

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