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Liberty boys win West’s late “Early Bird” XC meet

Decker and a “Bolt Pack” lead the Lightning to team title

IOWA CITY– Iowa City West High’s “Trojan Early Bird Invitational” is usually held much sooner in the cross country season, but was postponed this year and finally took place closer to the end, on Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Kickers Soccer Club Complex in Iowa City.
Liberty High’s varsity boys took the team title with 41 points, knocking off City High (62), Pleasant Valley (71) and the host Trojans (102). Aidan Decker, a freshman, led the Lightning with a fifth-place finish in 17:10.6. Caleb Schillinger, Bo Gryp and Christian Montover were close behind in the seven-through-nine positions, forming what the team calls a “Bolt Pack.”
Liberty’s junior varsity (JV) squad was second with 44 points behind team champion Pleasant Valley, and was led by Graham Thompson in fourth in 18:35.8. Ethan Bartachek and Luke Thompson were seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Lightning’s varsity girls did not compete in the event, but the JV girls were well represented and finished fourth with 91 points behind champion Dubuque Senior (16), Bettendorf (73) and Pleasant Valley (89) while edging out the Women of Troy (104). Hannah Ramsey led Liberty with a fifth-place finish in 22:46.9.
The Mississippi Valley Conference, Mississippi Division Meet is set for Thursday, Oct. 15, at Birdsall Park in Cedar Falls with varsity girls starting at 4:20 p.m., and the varsity boys coming out of the starting grid at 5:35 p.m.
Due to changes in the postseason schedule made by the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the state qualifying meets will be on Wednesday, Oct. 21 (at sites to be determined as of deadline), with the Class 4A and Class 3A state meets held on Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.

Varsity Boys
Team scores — 1, Liberty High, 41. 2, Iowa City High, 62. 3, Pleasant Valley, 71. 4, Iowa City West High, 102. 5, Bettendorf, 109. 6, Dubuque Senior, 126.
Individual results — 5, Aidan Decker, 17:10.6. 7, Caleb Schillinger, 17:17.2. 8, Bo Gryp, 17:17.3. 9, Christian Montover, 17:19.9. 12, Gavin Keeney, 17:22.1. 16, Jack Kinzer, 17:45.9. 17, Jordan Robinson, 17:47.9. 21, Ethan Keeney, 17:55.2. 31, Logan Nelson, 18:17.7. 45, Boden Bisgard, 18:49.9.
Junior Varsity Boys
Team scores — 1, Pleasant Valley, 40. 2, Liberty High, 44. 3, Iowa City High, 49. 4, Bettendorf, 118. 5, Iowa City West High, 136. 6, Dubuque Senior, 176.
Individual results — 4, Graham Thompson, 18:35.8. 7, Ethan Bartachek, 18:45.4. 8, Luke Thompson, 18:50.5. 12, Nathan Kinzer, 19:00.9. 13, Jack Abel, 19:03.3. 14, Spencer Knight, 19:03.4. 16, Jonathan Kamba Kaleka, 19:12.5. 18, Andrew Kaczka, 19:21.3. 21, Gavin Hayes, 19:33.7. 22, Tyson Baker, 19:34.0. 35, Iben Coohey, 20:03.6. 38, Connor Ahrens, 20:13.5. 47, Timothy Welch, 20:24.6. 52, Maddux Johnson, 20:31.8. 64, Luke Gage, 20:57.0. 89, Carter Gage, 21:02.9. 74, Cal Henk, 21:14.2. 78, Jaden Frantz, 21:23.5. 79, Damien Garrett, 21:25.2. 102, Caden Sadler, 22:52.3. 116, Maxwell Thompson, 23:30.1. 119, Logan Jones, 23:37.7. 120, Gavin Nelson, 23:42.8. 124, Adam Schultz, 24:12.0. 128, Cole Kerns, 24:21.4. 130, Will Thompson, 24:43.8.
Varsity Girls
Team scores — 1, Dubuque Senior, 24. 2, Pleasant Valley, 40. 3, Iowa City West High, 74.
Junior Varsity Girls
Team scores — 1, Dubuque Senior, 16. 2, Bettendorf, 73. 3, Pleasant Valley, 89. 4, Liberty High, 91. 5, Iowa City West High, 104.
Individual results — 5, Hannah Ramsey, 22:46.9. 20, Ava Roggy, 23:57.6. 22, Ashley Bonilla, 24:00.2. 26, Sophie Faga, 24:12.1. 50, Avery Clark, 25:55.7. 52, Aleah Rees, 26:08.4. 54, Sam Estrada, 26:19.3. 64, Leela Strand, 27:32.6.