Pella’s season of drastic improvement concluded with a 13th place finish at state. Pella scored 358 points, only six points from 11th place, and 36 points from 8th place Knoxville. This was an improvement of 114 points from their 15th place finish in 2005.
Coach Cutler expressed only pride and appreciation for the boys’ performance after the race. “It was a fantastic season. The boys worked tremendously hard, and to improve 114 points is something to be proud of. Many teams after our performace last season at state probably thought our being here was a bit of a fluke. We learned a lot from last season’s experience and those lessons paid off this year.”
“Were we the just the 12th best team at the line today? Probably not, I think the boys discovered a strong enough sense of self this season to know that we were stronger than the 12th team in the state, but it wasn’t our best day. The size and magnitude of this kind of race is still very new to our program, and that is something I need to prepare them for better next year. We’ll be back.”
Senior Walker Bell was the first Pella finisher for the second season in a row at the state meet. He made a tremendous improvement finishing in 34th, compared to 72nd in 2005. Sophomore Adam Verhoef, Junior Andrew Bentz, and Senior Trey Behning finished in 57th, 66th, and 90th respectively. This was their second seasons competing at State as well and finished 95th, 85th, and 104th in 2005.
Pella’s trio of freshman completed their squad this season. Brandon Klassen placed 111th, Zach Wittenberg was 119th, and Nathan Buchheit finished 125th.
“I know that none of the freshman were particular happy with their races today, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort, and it wasn’t because they were intimidated by their surrounding competition, which is a very good thing from a coaching standpoint,” shared Coach Cutler. “All three had some hard luck here the past couple weeks with injuries. The first mile they really put thmeselves in a position to run great races, but injuries slowed them after that. I think all three have a deep passion for running though, and with five returning athletes and some very strong JV runners, we’ll be a force that other teams will have to take notice of next year.”
With Pella’s 13th place at State the team finishes the season with a 92-17 record. Walker Bell’s 34th place finish ranks among the top ten male performances at state in Pella’s history. Trey Behning’s performance marked the 8th time a member of his family participated at State, a team record.