Zaruba leads area runners at Knoll Ridge

By Jeff Yoder
Posted 9/15/22

A tough course didn’t keep Lone Tree sophomore Vivian Zaruba from running a new career-best time with a sixth-place finish at the Knoll Ridge Golf Course on Tuesday. 

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Zaruba leads area runners at Knoll Ridge


A tough course didn’t keep Lone Tree sophomore Vivian Zaruba from running a new career-best time with a sixth-place finish at the Knoll Ridge Golf Course on Tuesday. 

“I felt pretty strong actually, throughout this race,” Zaruba said. “It's very hilly, but I always run one of my better times and place well here, so it's kind of a love-hate relationship.”

With a time of 24:36, Zaruba placed in the top quarter of the field of 28. Despite the hills and bright sunlight, she had a five-second improvement from her race at Fairfield five days earlier. 

The Hillcrest Academy boys were led by sophomore Micah Gerber, who placed eighth with a time of 20:29. Sophomore Jesse Blossom finished 18th. His time of 21:38 was close to a personal best despite the hills and a choice of footwear that he regretted. 

“It was hard, especially the downhills,” Blossom said. “I made the mistake of wearing spikes, so the landings were really really hard on my feet. And then going straight from the downhills to uphills was a tough transition.”

With a pace of 6:58 per mile, Blossom exceeded his goal of a seven-minute pace.  

Lone Tree senior Jadin Grieser led the Lone Tree boys with a time of 24:03, placing 34th out of 58. 

Grieser said that while the hills were challenging, he found a rhythm going up and down regularly through the race. 

“It was a little bit harder, but I like the consistency of running ‘all hills’,” he explained. “It was easier to go up and then just use that momentum downward.”

Grieser pulled away from HLV junior  Nolan Pirkl to finish over six seconds ahead of 35th place. 

“At the end there, I kicked it a good amount and beat the kid in front of me,” he said.

Highland junior Jackson Schneider also won a race to the finish line to take 36th place by a quarter of a second. His time of 24:51 led the Husky boys on Tuesday. 

“I did pretty well, considering how tough the course is,” Schnieder said. “It’s one of the more difficult courses. It’s a lot of hills, going up and down. You would think going down would be easy, but a lot of times you’re pretty exhausted even going down.”

Lone Tree senior Blake Honeycutt finished 38th with a time of 25:02 and Highland senior Brendan Schnoebelen was 40th with a finish of 25:10.  Lone Tree’s Taylor Alberhasky was just one second behind Schnoebelen in 41st and his teammate Joey Birtcher took 42nd. 

Freshmen Brayden Zywiec and Chase Boshart took 51st and 52nd for the Huskies. Hillcrest’s Kyle Neuschwander and Jeremiah Danker finished 54th and 56th in their second race of the season and Highland’s Chase Hickenbottom was 57th. 

North Mahaska had four of the top six finishers, including senior Lane Harmon who finished a second ahead of English Valleys sophomore Gage Heyne to win the race in 18:52.

Freshman Erika Thomann led the Highland girls with a 20th place time of 28:48. Halle Hazelett finished 23rd and Katelyn Waters was 25th.  Wilton freshman Audra Coss won the race with a time of 23:07. 

Full results

Mid-Prairie eighth-grader Marie Yoder won the middle school girls 2-mile race with a time of 12:31. Golden Hawk eighth grader Reece Waters edged his teammate Max Swartzentruber by less than a second to win the boys race with a time of 11:36. Mason Wilson took third place for the Golden Hawks and Lone Tree’s Brock Nebergall finished fourth.