The Pella Boys’ Cross Country team began their season in impressive fashion winning the SE Polk Invitaional Tuesday evening. With finishers in 3rd, 9th, 12th, 13th, and 31st, Pella scored 68 points. The host school SE Polk came in second with 76 points, and Waukee placed 3rd with 84.

“It was a very respectable first step to our season,” says Coach Cutler. “There were some solid teams here today. SE Polk, Waukee, Indianola, and Knoxville are all teams who beat us at different times last year. We’re going to enjoy this a bit, but we’ve got a lot of work to do if we are going to stay ahead of the competition. Come 6:30am tomorrow morning it’s just another day of practice.”

Leading the boys team was Walker Bell who placed 3rd overall in a time of 18:06. Soon after came a trio of Dutchman, Andrew Bentz in 9th (18:22), Adam Verhoef in 12th (18:34), and Trey Behning in 13th (18:35). “I asked the boys to pack up for the first mile, and then push each other though the field. It worked well for us today,” said Cutler.

In order to secure the victory, however, the Dutchman needed one more runner to complete their score. A pair of freshman gave impressive debuts for their high school careers. Nathan Buchheit finished in 31st place with a time of 19:26, and Zach Wittenberg finished in 35th with a time of 19:40. Junior Phil Visser rounded out the top seven finishing in 50th place with a time of 20:03.

“All the guys did a fantastic job,” said Cutler. “Many of them finished their first high school cross country race today which is the toughest one. I think we learned more about ourselves as a team today. I know what these young men are capable of. I had hoped we might slide under the radar for a while, but that might not end up being possible.”


Pella 68, SE Polk 76, Waukee 84, Indianola 106, Knoxville 132, Nevada 136, Newton 172, East 173, Oskaloosa 252, Carlisle 282, North 316


Walker Bell 18:06 3rd

Andrew Bentz 18:22 9th

Adam Verhoef 18:34 12th

Trey Behning 18:35 13th

Nathan Buchheit 19:26 31st

Zach Wittenberg 19:40 35th

Phil Visser 20:03 50th

Josh Hones 20:12 53rd

Jon Klein 20:31 60th

Jake VanderHoek 21:13 80th

Brandon Klassen 21:48 93rd

Luke Elzinga 22:06 99th

Andrew Lopez 22:31 104th

Max Wesemann 23:35 127th

Alex Lopez 24:13 132nd

Derek Boat 24:21 138th

Devin Sietstra 25:41 151st