Western Dubuque’s boys’ cross country season was filled with highlights, ending in the Class 3A State Meet in Fort Dodge.
“I think we had a great season and accomplished a lot of things,” coach Mark Digmann said. “I knew we had the potential to be good, but I didn’t know what that meant in class 3A because it’s been so long since we’ve been down a class.
“From a team standpoint, we had several (highlights). We won several meets, we qualified for state for the first time since 2007, we won the first district title in school history, and we finished eighth as a team at state.
“Individually, Eli Naumann ran very well for us this year. He won several meets, was a district champion for the first time since Ben Grant in 2003, and placed sixth at the state meet, which is the highest individual finish on the boys’ side since Scot Sperfslage was seventh in 2007.”
Brenden Begle, Will Cosley, Caden Coyle, Brady Horsfall, Tim Horsfall, Eli Naumann and Dylan Schroeder were the seniors on this year’s squad.
“I thought our seniors led by example and weren’t very vocal about much. They had fun when it was time to have fun and they worked when it was time to get to work,” Digmann said.
The Bobcats were solid all season long. A strong individual work ethic helped the team all season long.
“Our team got better as individuals started to grow into their roles,” Digmann said. “Isaiah (Hammerand) really started to come on in the early part of the season and kept improving to become a very solid and reliable No. 2 behind Eli. Derek (Fangmann) continued to close the gap on Isaiah, Brenden came on the last few meets as he started to get in cross country shape and figure some things out about competing at the 5K distance. Drew (Meyer) and Levi (Meyer) were always solid at five/six and we knew that we’d have a really good No. 5 come out, but that our No. 6 was never going to be far behind and we’d be in a great position to win a tie break if it came to that. I was also impressed with the job that Brody (Staner) did as a freshman to where he was competitive in his first year on a very good team.”
Naumann moved up to No. 2 on the all-time boys’ 5K list with a time of 15:30, which he ran at the Dubuque Senior Meet. Ben Grant set the No. 1 time at the state meet in 2003 when he won the title. This year 26 of the 27 boys on the team recorded personal records. The one that didn’t was fighting an injury.
The future of WD boys’ cross country looks very bright.
“We have five of the boys that ran at state returning. We have some solid JV runners that should be able to step in and help out with the other spots. We always seem to get a kid like Brenden this year that comes out later in high school and we always seem to find some help from the incoming freshmen like we did this year with Brody and Preston (Kremers). Having that solid core of five returning will help, but we have places where we can add to them and get better,” Digmann said.
The season-best time run by the boys this year include: Naumann 15:30, Hammerand 16:49, Fangmann 17:11, Drew Meyer 17:38, Levi Meyer 17:40, Nathan Williams 18:17; Staner 18:30, Schroeder 19:00, Brady Horsfall 19:16, Caden Coyle 19:23, Austin Hagerty 19:57, Russell Miller 20:11, Jackson Doyle 20:15, Coy Messer 20:24, Jagger McCool 20:25, Timmy Horsfall 20:36, Tyler Bedtka 20:42, Thomas Blair 20:43, Zane Heiderscheit 21:09, Jimmy Hoover 21:45, Nathan Casey 22:00, Will Cosley 23:27 and Brandon Vaske 25:33.