FORT DODGE — Last year, Nick Meyers watched as Monticello won a state cross country championship.
Saturday, he contributed as the Panthers won another.
Monticello did the expected at Lakeside Golf Course, trampling the field for its second straight Class 2A boys crown. The Panthers had five runners in the top 20 and amassed a tidy 52-point total. North Polk was second, way back at 132.
“It wasn’t our best race, but it was a good, solid race,” said Monticello Coach Dan Sauser. “You always want to run better, but I’m pleased with our effort, and the outcome was what we had in mind.”
Meyers was an alternate — the Panthers’ No. 8 runner — last year. So he watched and cheered for his teammates. Saturday, he got an opportunity and ran with it.
He was second on the team, eighth overall.
“The saying goes, ‘Summer miles bring autumn smiles,’ ” Meyers said. “This is an amazing feeling. I was just up for it.”
Will Norris of Spirit Lake passed Gilbert’s Thomas Pollard in the final mile and won going away in 15:25.
Michael Melchert was Monticello’s lead runner, third in 15:46, followed by Meyers (eighth), J.J. Frawley (10th), Dallas Lumpa (13th) and Tiler Streets (20th).
The Panthers have been ranked No. 1 nationally among small schools all season long by XCnation.com.
Unity Christian repeated as the 2A girls champion. The Knights scored 97 points. Northeast was second with 124. Monticello and Cascade scored 159 apiece, with the Panthers taking the tie-breaker.
Cassandra Stufflick of Danville-New London was the individual champion, in 14:54. Mariah Kauder of Cascade was the runner-up for the second straight year, in 15:09.
“You come in second one year, and you have really high goals for the next,” Kauder said. “I really wanted to make a mark here.”
Kauder had run solo in the past, but a strong crop of freshmen have Cascade a full team — and a very good team.
“I would love another year with these girls,” said Kauder, a senior. “They’re going to be really good.”
Cascade’s Kylie Kelchen was fifth. Paige Gibson of North Fayette was eighth, Monticello’s Ellen Schlarmann 10th.
Josh Yeager of Center Point-Urbana was fifth in the boys race. Eric Lenz of Tipton was sixth, Brennan Bogert of Iowa City Regina was ninth.
Brennan Bogart, Cascade, class 2A, Dallas Lumpa, Dan Sauser, Ellen Schlarmann, Eric Lenz, J.J. Frawley, Kylie Kelchen, Lakeside Golf Course, Mariah Kauder, Michael Melchert, Monticello, Nick Meyers, Paige Gibson, state cross country, Tiler Streets