This past week, Denison has been a place of good fortune for Storm Lake High teams.
Last Sunday, the Tornado gridders were nearly flawless in finishing off Denison Schleswig in the last five minutes of a game that was suspended more than a week earlier.
Tuesday afternoon at the Denison Invitational, the SLHS varsity boys and girls cross country teams had their strongest finishes of the year.
The Tornado boys were third, just five points out of second. The surprising Tornado girls had their top finish in at least a couple years, taking seventh in their race.
"This was arguably our best overall meet of the season for both teams," SLHS cross country coach John Brostad said.
The Storm Lake boys, led by a tenth place from first-year runner A.J. Croker, took third with 92 points, five points behind second-place Woodbine. Council Bluffs-Abraham Lincoln won the event with 67 points. Fourteen teams competed in the varsity boys race.
Croker finished the 5,000 meter course in tenth place with a career-best time of 17 minutes, 35 seconds. Junior Ryan Lovstad was 12th in 18:30, Jesse Munger 21st in 18:33 and Daren Koehler 23rd in 18:38. All four SLHS runners medaled.
Just missing a medal was Joe Cullen, who was 26th in 18:21. David Brady was 29th in 18:26, while Geoff Ullerich was 34th in 18:47.
Brostad said 97 runners competed in the varsity boys race, adding that all seven Tornado runners are juniors.
"Our top five were only 16 places apart and we had two guys in the 17's (minutes), he said. "Five others were in the 18's on a very challenging course. The guys are coming together as a team and had an awesome meet."
In the varsity girls race, Harlan flirted with a top score of 15, winning with 22 points. Denison-Schleswig was second with 76 points and Logan Magnolia third with 122 points. In taking seventh, the SLHS girls finished with 209 points, beating four other teams.
As she has all season, Christine Becker led the Tornado girls with an eighth place finish, completing the 4,000 meter course in 16:35.
Heather Douglas was 40th in 18:30. while Lindsey Cavanaugh was 41st in 18:33. Amanda Cavanaugh finished 44th in 18:38, and Nikki Lindquist 76th in 24:59.
The Tornado boys JV team won its competition with 50 points. Council Bluffs-AL was second with 76 points and Woodbine third with 105.
Leading the SL junior varsity was Nate Tucker, who finished fifth in 19:37. Taylor Anderson was 7th in 19:41 and Justin Cullen 11th in 20:19. Peter Winterton and Derek Brock both gained ribbons by tying for 14th with identical times of 10:41.
David Brink earned a ribbon by placing 16th with a career best 21:12. Other SLHS JV runners, their places and times were: Nate Converse, 18th in 21:14; Daniel Higgins, 23rd in 21:30; Jose Hernandez, 24th in 21:30; Guillermo Elizalde was 25th in 21:37; Matt Bowman, 26th in 21:39 and Spencer Darrow, 36th in 22:31. The top 25 placers in the JV race earned ribbons.
Five SL runners ran in the boys middle school race, all coming up with career-best times.
Kieran Cullen was third out of 47 runners in 12:25. J.C. Renteria added a 7th in 12:51, and Adam Ullerich was 22nd in 13:59.