As has been talked about most of the season, the Albia Lady Dees continued to exceed all expectations at the state meet held in Fort Dodge on Saturday, finishing 14th as a team in the team competition.
“I am just so proud of these ladies,” said Coach Todd Ratliff. “They weren’t supposed to make state, then the experts predicted them to finish 15th in the team race. Like they have done all season long, they weren’t in the mood to settle for 15th and stepped up to end 14th as a team.”
The state meet, like most meets, has a dual scoring method. There is scoring in the individual side, the overall placing of the athletes as they finish and there is a scoring of the team runners.
Sherryl Mae Rowe led the Lady Dees as she had done for 10 of the 11 previous competitions with an outstanding performance on the day. Her time of 21:15 was 48th overall and 30th in the team scoring as well as 30 seconds quicker than at the state qualifying meet.
“Sherryl handled the pressure of being an individual qualifier as well as the team leader very well today,” said Coach Ratliff. “She stayed relaxed and stayed within herself as she raced.”
Becca Pistek also raced well as she moved forward through the group of 138 of the state’s best runners throughout the course of the race. Her time of 22:14 was 20 seconds quicker than the state qualifying meet and landed her 83rd overall and 52nd in the team race. “Becca looked relaxed after getting settled into the race,” said the coach. “She didn’t waiver and continued to chase down that next runner in front of her.”
A full 45 seconds quicker than at the state qualifying meet was freshman Brooke Smith in a time of 23:21. “Brooke got stronger after the midway point and separated herself from our pack of runners,” said Coach Ratliff. “I was very excited for her when I saw how fast she had run.” Her time placed her 119th overall and 85th in the team race.
Sophomore Allison Major, was able to race to a time of 23:33, 24 seconds quicker than at the state qualifying meet. “Allison just makes me smile when she runs,” said Coach Ratliff. “Everything she has in the tank comes out during the race.” Major would finish 122nd overall and 88th in the team race.
Freshman Ellie Martin would bring in the final team points for the Lady Dees with her race which would turn up 18 seconds quicker than the state qualifying meet. “This is a big stage for a freshman runner. Ellie stayed calm and had great effort,” said Coach Ratliff. Martin would finish 127th overall and 93rd in the team scoring.
Junior Sara Pistek and Senior (first year runner) Tahylor Terrell would both eclipse the 25 minute mark with their efforts with Pistek finishing with a 24:34 (17 seconds quicker than at state qualifying) with Terrell finishing in 24:49 (which was a full minute and seven seconds faster than state qualifying). They would finish 97th and 100th in the team race. “The experience of the race and the atmosphere is something they will remember for a long, long time,” said Coach Ratliff.
Mid Prairie would win their second consecutive state meet championship with 89 team points. Williamsburg with 118, WC-KP 131, Jesup 145, Danville-New London 155, Cascade 180, Panorama-Panora 180, Unity Christian 185, Crestwood-Cresco 191, Aplington-Parkersburg 211, Waukon 238, Dike-New Hartford 246, Shenandoah 318, Albia 348, and Cherokee 353.
“To say the Lady Dee cross country team exceeded expectations at the state championship meet, and with their season, wouldn’t even begin to describe the changes they made from a season ago, and what they have done this season. From their first meet in Albia on Aug. 27 to state was enormous,” said Coach Ratliff. The time drops for each of the Lady Dees from the Albia Invitational to their last meet of the season that the competitors ran were as follows:
Sherryl Mae Rowe (23:25 – 21:15), Becca Pistek (30:14-22:14), Sara Pistek (30:11-24:34), Ellie Martin (28:48-24:07), Tahylor Terell (30:01-24:49), Allison Major (27:13-23:33), Emma Martin (31:07-25:24), Brooke Smith (26:47-23:21), Lauren Bayer (34:00-26:57), Marrisa Terrell (44:39-33:18), Sarah Herz (36:38-27:53), and Makenna Ross (44:33-35:46).
“As I look back on the day that the athletes had, all seven runners dropped their time again from the state qualifying meet to today’s meet,” said the coach. “They shook off the pressure and awe of being at the largest, most competitive meet they could possibly run in, and ran their races. I am super proud of them.”
All five of the scoring runners, and six of the seven who ran at state return next season.
More photos of the state meet will be in Thursday’s Union-Republican.