2012 Iowa Conference champions
NORTHFIELD, MINN.—Freshman Eli Horton (Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) powered his way to an individual title at the St. Olaf (Minn.) Invitational Saturday morning and led the Central College men’s cross country team to a third-place finish. Meanwhile, the Dutch women placed ninth.
In his first collegiate 8,000-meter race, Horton obliterated the 325-runner field, finishing in a time of 25 minutes, 44 seconds. His mark was eight seconds in front of the runner-up and placed him 13th on Central’s all-time list.
“That was a great race for the first 8k of his career,” said head coach Joe Dunham. “I was excited to see him not be afraid to take the lead.”
Horton ran with the leaders for the majority of the five-mile race, then separated himself from the pack at the four-mile mark and never relinquished the lead.
“He said he felt really good at four miles and decided to make a move,” said Dunham. “It’s nice to see that aggressiveness.”
Austin O’Brien (sophomore, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) was the second Dutch runner across the line, taking ninth place in a time of 26:18. Brent Ewing (junior, Cincinnati, Centerville HS) finished 23rd (26:42) with freshman Drew Jackson (Johnston) close behind in 26th (26:51), while Cody Doughan (sophomore, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) and Brandon Clough (junior, Marshalltown, GMG HS) crossed the line together in 36th (27:02) and 37th (27:02) respectively. Andrew Hamer (senior, Murray) rounded out Central’s varsity squad in 46th (27:25).
“Drew is coming off limited training this summer,” said Dunham. “So he certainly deserves a lot of credit for how he ran today.”
The Central men scored 86 points to place third in the 14-team field. Division II powerhouse Minn. St.-Mankato won the team title with 36 points.
McDermott leads women—Meanwhile, Mel McDermott (junior, Britt, West Hancock HS) was again the top Dutch finisher for the women’s squad, running a personal-best time of 23:33 over the 6,000-meter course en route to a 20th-place finish.
“Mel ran a solid race but felt like she had something left when she finished, said associate head coach Stephen Fyfe. “You can never be disappointed with a personal best but she knows there is more in the tank.”
Melanie Louis (senior, Davenport, Central HS) was the next Central runner across the line, taking 50th place in a time of 24:15. Shelby Mendoza (sophomore, Norwalk) was a step behind in 52nd (24:16), while Alyssa Eaves (freshman, Johnston) was 86th (24:53) and Emma Nelson (sophomore, Pekin) was 121st (25:27). Kristen Fariss (sophomore, Batavia, Pekin HS) and Jenna Broghamer (junior, Iowa City, West HS) finished 151st (25:51) and 154th (25:54) respectively to round out the varsity squad.
“We had five of the top seven run personal-best times today,” said Fyfe. “And we did a much better job with our packing than at the home meet. Amanda Melcher didn’t race today because of a foot injury, so getting her back next time will continue to improve that gap.”
The Central women scored 248 points to place ninth in the 16-team field. Host and regional powerhouse St. Olaf won the team title with 46 points. Morgan Place of Minn.-Duluth took the top individual honors in a time of 22:11.
“Overall we saw some good things today. I really liked all of the pack running we did,” said Dunham. “But we certainly have a lot of work to do to get ready to compete in the Iowa Conference. We learned some things today about ourselves and we’ll continue to build on that.”
Both squads have next weekend off and return to action Sept. 30 in Des Moines at the Grand View Invitational.