(Glenwood) -- “It’s a guessing game for me.”
That’s a line from Glenwood’s section of KMA’s Hawkeye Ten Boys Cross Country Preview from earlier this year. Months later, the Rams finished a remarkable season that included a Hawkeye Ten championship and a state qualification.
For those feats and more, Glenwood boys cross country coach Todd Peverill is this year’s KMAland Cross Country Coach of the Year. While many were surprised with Glenwood’s rise, Coach Peverill could see it coming.
“Looking at what was coming up from the middle school, I knew we were going to have a good squad,” Peverill told KMA Sports. “We underperformed last year, so I knew I had to do some things a little bit different in the summer.”
That decision hit a bit of a bump when Peverill – and all other cross country coaches – weren’t allowed to work with their athletes until July. Still, Peverill created an atmosphere of competition all summer.
“I knew that our middle schoolers had the lack of experience of racing, so we did a lot of time trials during the summer,” he said. “Our senior leadership really helped us out, and it developed the team really well.”
Those seniors – Nate Rohrberg and Tyler Huey and rookie Ethan Chappell – were joined by a trio of freshmen and a pair of sophomores that shaped the Glenwood season. The leader on the course turned out to be a relatively inexperienced runner in freshman Andrew Smith.
“He came out really late last year as a middle schooler,” Peverill said. “He only ran three races the entire year (last season), but he just kept getting better and better. At one of the time trials in the summer, he finally beat (Rohrberg). After that he took off. He was unstoppable.”
Smith was the top finisher (sixth) at the Hawkeye Ten Conference meet, as the Rams won their first conference championship since 2017. He followed with another sixth-place run at the state qualifier, allowing Glenwood to grab the final state qualifying spot in Winterset. In his final race of the season, he took 19th in 3A.
The rest of the team included fellow freshmen Liam Hays and Bryant Keller and sophomores Dillon Anderson and Jack McMullen. Peverill says there are no fewer than eight others that ran in most junior varsity races that were not far away from making the varsity lineup.
While the season was a surprise to many, Coach Peverill could see the framework of what it turned out to be early in the season.
“The AL meet,” Peverill said. “Andrew tried to win it, and he learned a lot from that race. From then on he was highly competitive in all the races. Liam really came along well and pushed himself. Bryant really broke out and cut about a minute off his time. That meet built the confidence for the whole bunch.”
Listen to much more with Coach Peverill in the full interview from today’s Upon Further Review.
PREVIOUS KMALAND XC COACH OF THE YEAR WINNERS
2019: Jenny Hamilton, AHSTW Girls
2018: Kelli (Gaukel) Kersten, Logan-Magnolia