(KMAland) -- KMA Sports covered 13 state champions during the 2018-19 sports year. Last week, we covered five of those. And this week begins with another.
At No. 5 in our 2018-19 Top 25 Team Countdown is Logan-Magnolia girl’s cross country. The Panthers had a dominant season, capped by a dominant performance in winning the Class 1A state title.
The Panthers opened the season at No. 3 in the Iowa High School Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings, but it took them less than a month to move up to the spot they would occupy for the rest of the season.
On September 4th, Lo-Ma moved up to No. 1 to officially set the stage for what would turn into a dream season. Head Coach Kelli Gaukel talked with KMA Sports later that week about the ranking.
“I think everybody is really excited,” Gaukel said of the ranking. “When we saw the article, people were telling us congratulations and sharing it all over Facebook. Cross country isn’t always well-known and appreciated so it’s cool to see everybody excited about it.”
Coach Gaukel returned a veteran team that placed fourth at the 2017 state meet. Junior Taylor Sporrer, who finished seventh in 2017, was joined by her sister and freshman Courtney Sporrer.
In addition, outstanding multi-sport athlete Kylie Morrison joined the fold, and juniors Violet Lapke and Olivia Diggins and sophomores Marissa Brenden and Erica Nolting were also in the mix.
As the season wore on, Lo-Ma kept impressing. The Sporrer sisters went 1-2 to lead a Lo-Ma win at the Tim Thomas Classic in Holstein on September 8th before going 2-3 and placing second as a team at a strong AHSTW Meet on September 11th. They went on to win the ACGC Meet on September 20th with the Sporrers running second and third.
On the 25th, they placed third behind Harlan and Abraham Lincoln at Denison and then won their first meet of October – on the 4th – at Boyer Valley. The Panthers had five of the top six scorers in that win. One week later, they captured the Western Iowa Conference title in Audubon, scoring 31 points to win by 32. Lo-Ma had three of the top four runners in the race.
They had one final tune-up before the postseason and won the Missouri Valley meet with 40 points behind a 1-2 finish from the Sporrer sisters. Kylie Morrison had a strong finish of her own with a sixth-place run.
The Panthers put up 22 points at the West Sioux district behind four of the top six runners and five of the top 12 to advance to state. The Panthers then went on to Fort Dodge with major goals, according to the elder Sporrer.
Of course, they reached those. Lo-Ma continued their dominance in Fort Dodge, placing three in the top 10 and four in the top 13 on their way to 66 points – 62 points better than second place.
Taylor Sporrer placed third and scored second while Courtney placed fourth and scored third. Kylie Morrison’s 17th place finish scored 10, and Violet Lapke’s 21st place finish scored 13. Marissa Brenden scored 38, Erica Nolting scored 40 and senior Isabelle Alvis had a 73-point score.
For their fantastic years, both Sporrer sisters were named to the All-KMAland Cross Country Elite, and Coach Gaukel was honored as the KMAland Coach of the Year. Listen to the year of KMA Sports coverage linked below.
Top 25 Teams of 2018-19
4. Tuesday, August 12th
3. Wednesday, August 13th
2. Thursday, August 14th
1. Friday, August 15th