Woodward XC’s Fleshner continues rise, football looks for bounce back

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief
Woodward Granger's Eva Fleshner finishes the girls race in the Ballard Mike Carr Invitational Cross Country Meet at Ballard Golf and Country Club Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, in Huxley, Iowa.

The Hawks head into homecoming with hopes of following their youngest star’s lead. (Note: Events covered Sept. 6-12)

Football (1-2)

After taking down Interstate 35 (1-2) twice last year, the Hawks found themselves on the losing side of the road in a 24-14 loss to the Roadrunners in what could be reasonably called an upset win for I-35.

What looked like smooth sailing for the Hawks with a 14-7 lead at halftime slowly turned into the Roadrunners’ game, winning the battle in the trenches.

Having been nearly the entire offense the week before against ACGC, quarterback Carter Moran took on a similar workload, scoring both of the Hawks’ touchdowns. With 225 yards passing and 64 yards on the ground, he accounted for over 95 percent of the team’s total yards. No other player ran for over 13 yards. Dane Polich was his leading receiver with 137 yards and a score on 10 catches. Brody Nardini and Dylan McCaulley collected 45 and 38 yards, respectively.

Besides Roadrunners limiting production from inside the tackle box, the real chink in the Hawks’ armor came from two interceptions that helped set up the I-35 offense that was equally effective on the ground and through the air. And as evidenced by the Hawks’ eight plays for negative yards and the Runners’ five negative plays, defensive pressure was a deciding factor.

The Hawks get a chance Friday night to redeem their past two weeks in the loss column, hosting Eagle Grove (1-2) for homecoming, hoping to channel last year’s 42-0 win over the Eagles. So far this year, they’ve been moderately productive on offense, averaging 21 points per game with an offense that runs mostly through their mobile quarterback Tate Richardson who leads the team with four touchdowns. They have three other players that have both scored and ran for over a hundred yards this season.  

Volleyball (3-6)

Two days after logging their second full-match win of the season, the Hawks were greeted with a loss to Pella Christian (4-5) on Sept. 8. Though it got progressively better through the night, the Eagles would win 3-0 to defend their home court with progressive scores of 25-14, 25-14 and 25-18.

With the Eagles aggressively attacking the net, points from kills favored the home team 27-10. Their win rate from serves also held an advantage over the Hawks, winning 17-7 in aces. But the Hawks were able to position Pella into some tougher positions too, as the Eagles committed 15 errors on offense compared to 14 Hawk errors, helping keep all three sets within reach for a time.

Anna Weaver remains a crux of Woodward’s attack with six assists and seven digs, as does Audrey Simmons with her 11 digs and four aces. Lindsay Mescher was the top player at the net with five kills and Cadence Klocke led the team with two blocks.

Woodward-Granger's Carsten Wright finishes the boys race in the Ballard Mike Carr Invitational Cross Country Meet at Ballard Golf and Country Club Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, in Huxley, Iowa.

Cross Country

The Hawks look like they’ve got one, folks.

Freshman Eva Fleshner continues to run circles around her competition and is now ranked No. 4 in the latest statewide poll for Class 1A. With a season-best time of 18 minutes 43 seconds at the Sept. 8 run in Colfax-Mingo, Woodward’s freshman phenom ranks second among her grade level throughout the state. The only reported time faster than her is Valley’s Greta Bergman at 18:33.

Thanks to Fleshner, the Hawks’ girls team placed second at Colfax, hopping Collins-Maxwell in the standings by five points. Jaidyn Achenbach (23:13) and Libby Grell (23:39) placed eighth and tenth, respectively. 

Woodward’s boys were mostly held in positions 27-45 in the field of 62 runners, but with Carsten Wright (18:39) and Dillon Limoges (18:42) taking 10th and 12th place, helped the Hawks take sixth place of the nine qualifying teams.