Norwalk, ranked No. 8 in Class 3A put it all together Saturday to win the girls’ team title in the large school class at the Pella Invitational.

The meet was held at Central College with teams split into small schools and large schools for final results.

The Warriors of Norwalk totaled 35 points for the team championship followed by North Polk with 85.

The Pella High Lady Dutch finished in fifth place with 139 points. The Knoxville Panthers were 7th with 169 points.

Continuing to be impressive for the Panthers is freshman sensation Norah Pearson.

Pearson was third in the overall varsity race trailing only Marie Hostetler of Mid-Prairie Wellman and Abby Ryon of Mount Pleasant.

Hostetler actually counted in the scoring in the small school division of the meet, giving Pearson second place in the large school portion of the meet.

Hostetler is a two-time Class 2A State Champion.

Hostetler won the small-school 5K race Saturday with a course record time of 18:12 over the hilly terrain. The previous record for the course was set by Hostetler’s sister, Anna in 2017. Anna Hostetler is a previous state champion in cross country as well. Anna finished in 18:42 in 2017.

Her winning time was by over a minute over her closest competitor.

The weather Saturday was ideal for the event. It was partly sunny with temperatures in the low 70s for the start of the varsity girls’ race.

Pearson’s time at the Central College Course was 19:32.

The rest of the KHS scoring for the day consisted of Jalen Nelson in 38th at 24:33, Jade Six 42nd at 24:48, Charlie Vermeer 43rd at 24:50 and Abbey Jackson 44th at 25;10.

Also running 25:10 and placing 45th was Dani Johnston while Olivia Maasdam was 0th at 26:07. Johnston and Maasdam didn’t count in the varsity KHS scoring for the day.

A total of 109 girls finished the race in the large school division.


Pearson talked about her fast start to the season. “It’s because of our summer training and the great support I get from my teammates,” she said.

She added, “I run every meet just to compete.”

Pearson said her time was 36 seconds slower at Central than it was in the home opener held behind the Knoxville High School.

The Central Course is a much more difficult terrain than the flat surface behind the Knoxville High School.

Panther Coach Michael Splavec replied, “We had some great performances by all of our athletes. We have had a lot of great improvement, and are excited to see how these next few weeks progress.”

Odds and Ends

Knoxville is scheduled to race at the Oskaloosa Invite Sept. 17 at 4:30 p.m. Thee meet will be held at Edmundson Park.

The top 20 individuals all earned medals for their efforts at the Pella Invite.

Pella Invite

Girls Team ScoringLarge Schools1. Norwalk 35, 2. North Polk 75, 3. Mount Pleasant 76, 4. Bondurant-Farrar 127, 5. Pella High 139, 6. Nevada 144, 7. Knoxville 169, 8. Oskaloosa 171.

Perry Bell can be reached at or by calling the newsroom at 641-842-2155.

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