Frontrunners

Iola High's boys picked up their second straight Pioneer League cross country title Thursday. The Mustangs had three of the top four finishers and five of the top 12 to cruise to victory.

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Sports

October 15, 2021 - 3:56 PM

Running stride-for-stride at the front of Thursday’s Pioneer League Cross Country Meet are, from left, Wellsville’s Nash McDaniel and Iola’s Kaster Trabuc, Jesse Taylor and Cole Moyer. The quartet took the top four individual places at the finish line. Meanwhile, Iola’s boys secured their second straight league championship. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

Iola High’s Cross Country team put on quite a show Thursday, even with both the top boy and girl Mustang runners having issues along the way.

Iola’s boys captured three of the top four places, and five of the top 12 to easily win the school’s second consecutive Pioneer League championship.

A dandy finish saw Iola’s Kaster Trabuc, Cole Moyer and Jesse Taylor running stride for stride alongside Wellsville’s Nash McDaniel.

The quartet ended the 5-kilometer race at a full sprint, with McDaniel winding up a stride in front of Trabuc, or about a half of a second separating the two runners. Moyer took third and Taylor fourth.

McDaniel finished in 18 minutes 34.68 seconds. Trabuc finished in 18:35.11.

Iola High’s cross country runners are clustered among the middle of a pack of runners at the start of Thursday’s Pioneer League Cross Country meet at Riverside Park. The Mustangs secured three of the top four individual places to nab the team’s second consecutive league championship. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register
The 2021 Pioneer League cross country champion Iola High Mustangs are, from left, Cole Moyer, J.J. Ruoth, Kaster Trabuc, Travis Wanker, Jesse Taylor, Eli Adams and Drake DeLaTorre. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register
Iola Middle School’s Amos Rutoh runs at Thursday’s Pioneer League Cross Country Meet. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register
Iola Middle School’s Bethany Miller nears the finish line in the eighth-grade girls race Thursday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register
Iola High’s Sage Barney runs in the Pioneer League Cross Country Meet in Iola Thursday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register
Former Iola High cross country coach Marc Smith fires his starter’s pistol to start a race at Thursday’s Pioneer League Meet in Iola. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register
Iola Middle School’s Brennan Coffield runs Thursday at the Pioneer League Cross Country Meet. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register
Joshua Wanker runs in a middle school race at the Pioneer League Cross Country Meet Thursday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register
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“Kaster had an amazing day,” Mustang head coach Brit Daugharthy said. “One of the things they’ve worked on all season is a strong finish. I was proud to see that happen, to see them finish up front like that. It was very exciting.”

Trabuc agreed.

“All of us have worked so hard in practice,” Trabuc said. “We run as a team; as a family. We work well together.”

The sterling finish came after a rough start, particularly for Taylor, typically Iola’s fastest runner.

Taylor was tripped at the starting line, and after getting back to his feet, had to work his way up through the entire field.

He was able to do so, even running at the front by the end of the first mile, but it came at a cost. 

By extending so much energy early on, Taylor was unable to match the other frontrunners in the last 100 meters.

“I never could find a good pace,” Taylor said.

But more importantly, he was uninjured with his early stumble.

“It was unfortunate,” Daugharthy said. “It just wasn’t his normal race.”

Eli Adams, on the heels of a blistering sprint at the finish, took eight, while J.J. Rutoh finished 12th.

The top 15 varsity runners in each division received a medal and all-league designation.

Rounding out the race for Iola, Drake DeLaTorre took 25th and Travis Wanker 30th.

Iola’s 29 points were well above the next three teams, Wellsville, Anderson County and Santa Fe Trail, which finished with 67, 68 and 72 points, respectively.

ON THE GIRLS’ side, Iola’s No. 1 runner, Elanie Sturgeon had to step off the course midway through due to injury.

“This would have been her fourth straight all-league run,” Daugharthy lamented.

Nevertheless, teammate Sage Barney — in her first year of cross country — brought home a 10th place medal. Freshman Alyssa Willams took 32nd.

The races were held in Iola, starting and ending just north of Riverside Park, with the course meandering around the park dikes and extending north nearly to U.S. 54.

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