Perry competes in Raccoon River Conference cross country meet

Sean Cordy
Perry's Jayson Chavez competes during the Raccoon River Conference cross country meet on Monday, Oct. 12 in Ames.

The first official competition with the new nine-school Raccoon River Conference was underway Monday as 59 girl and 62 boy cross country varsity runners trekked through Ames.

Perry's girls and boys varsity squads landed in eighth and ninth place respectively with the Ballard girls winning back-to-back titles and newcomer North Polk claiming the boys trophy.

The extra-crowded field wasn't all that changed this year compared to last year's blistering cold run in Winterset. Running on a new course in late summer weather, Jaylene Karolus remained the top runner for the Jayettes with a 24th place finish in 21 minutes 11 seconds.

Kennedy Tunink (45th, 23:02) wasn't far behind as her mile pace was less than 30 seconds behind Perry's leader. Cris Gomez (55th, 26:08); Misty Gomez (58th, 38:00); and Michelle Tobar (59th, 39:00) finished the spread, finishing in time to outlast Boone's squad.

Up against a spread of runners that would have placed seventh in the top 35 in last year's state Class 3A slate with sub-17 minutes, the Bluejays' offering positioned Jayson Chavez (54th, 19:25) at the top of their card. 

After finishing first among the Perry crowd last meet, Gannon Meis (57th, 20:15) worked in stride with Jeb Stewart (59th, 20:42). The trio's combined effort made an improvement over last year's times as all three ran sub-21 minutes compared to only two such times in 2019. Johnathan Chavez (60th, 22:08); Johnathan Munoz (61st, 22:08); and Bryce Anliker (62nd; 22:48) rounded out the Bluejay roster.

Perry didn't leave entirely empty-handed. The future looks bright as both the middle school boys and girls teams placed fourth overall. Eighth-grader Oscar Bellrand (1st, 12:07) took top prize in the boys two-mile run. He would have placed in the top 45 holding his pace for the varsity 5k. Julie Maylum (15th, 15:26) will also have a shot to climb the varsity leaderboards next year.

The Bluejays and Jayettes have one more race ahead of them with a state qualifying run Wednesday, Oct. 21 at a to be determined location. The top 15 finishers will run at the state meet Oct. 30 and 31 in Fort Dodge. Karolus has qualified the past two seasons.