The #4 ranked Albia cross country boys ran in their second meet in three days in the heat, squaring off against a fresh Davis County program (ranked #5 in 2A) and coming up six points behind the Mustangs. Central Decatur was third, four points behind Albia. “These three teams are really closely matched up this season,” said Coach Todd Ratliff. “We knew going in that it would be a fun race to run, as well as watch unfold. Last year we ran against Davis County at eight different meets splitting the eight meetings 4-4 with a win over them at the state meet. It appears this season should provide more of the same. The field of runners tonight (137) was bigger than either a state qualifying meet or state meet provide.”
Landon Noe raced to a top five finish with Brock Ratliff right on his heels in 6th place. Noe’s time on the course was 18:03 with Ratliff just four seconds back in 18:07. “It is fun to watch these two race it out. The better they push each other, the better we finish for the team, and tonight they were key to the runner-up team finish,” said Coach Ratliff.
Dawson Bonnett was also able to grab a medal in 11th place in the field of 135 runners in a time of 19:10. “Dawson sort of got trapped and separated from our top two runners tonight. It took a while to get out of the pack, but he did a great job moving up as the race unfolded,” said Coach Ratliff.
CJ Ratliff was able to cut 16 seconds from a year ago, and nearly two minutes from his race on Tuesday, posting his first sub 20 minute race of the season in 19:50, good enough for 22nd place. Max Teno’s time was down a full minute and 16 seconds from the same meet in 2018 as he finished in 24th place and a time of 19:54. “These two guys really worked well together tonight. They were part of a five-person chase pack that Albia had. At the end they were able to finish the last mile really solid,” said the coach.
Others in the pack that stayed closely running together through the first 80 percent of the race were Barrett Bonnett, Cody Dalman and Michael Thomas. Bonnett would provide the #6 runner for the Blue Demons with his 26th place team finish in a time of 20:03. Dalman would be just 10 seconds back and finish in 30th place with Thomas garnering the 35th position in 20:50. “These three seniors will more than likely move up on the depth chart as the season moves on,” said Coach Ratliff. “Cody has been a solid runner for us the last three seasons and both Bonnett and Thomas are first year competitors in the sport.”
Gavin McMurray continued his strong start to the season placing in the top 40 runners at 40th in a time of 21:22 (2:55 quicker than a year ago) with Travis Sheffield right behind him at 21:32 (2:21 faster) in 44th place. Also eclipsing the 22-minute barrier on the night were sophomores Eli Zanoni in 21:45 and Logan Carter in 21:59, good enough for 47th and 49th. John Pistek just missed the 22 minute mark with a run of 22:09, placing him in 52nd.
Adam Sheffield finished the course in 22:34 (64th), Austin Stanley in 23:56 (91st), David Thomas in 25:25, Caelen Robinson in 27:31 (7 minutes faster than in 2018!), Steven Pemberton in 28:38, and Wyatt McGee in 32:25.
Team scores for the meet were extremely tight through the first two teams with the talent separation becoming obvious with 4th place on back. Davis County 62, Albia 68, Central Decatur 72, Bedford 193, Pleasantville 193, Southeast Warren 203, Wayne 210, Chariton 211, East Union 217, Clarke 222, Centerville 248, Mount Ayr 254, Melcher-Dallas 297, Moravia 353, Diagonal NTS, Lenox NTS. The Blue Demons run their record to 22-1 through two meets. Their next meet will be at Forest Park in St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday.