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Brooke Smith, Dawson Bonnett qualify for cross country nationals - Albia Newspapers: Sports

Brooke Smith, Dawson Bonnett qualify for cross country nationals

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Posted: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 9:50 am

On Sunday, Nov. 5, four athletes from the Albia cross country junior high squad were able to compete in Garnett, Kan., at the eight-state Cross Country Coaches Youth Regional Championship meet.

Two of the four athletes, Brooke Smith and Dawson Bonnett, raced to individual qualifications to the Cross Country Coaches Youth National meet which will be held this year in West Chester, Ohio, on Nov. 18.

Coach Todd Ratliff has been taking any junior high runners who have wanted to compete over the last few years in the Regional Championships to Garnett, Kan. The athletes compete with the Brocaw Blazers youth team for Coach David Ramsey. (Ratliff and Ramsey have been working together to help runners since about 2005 when Coach Ramsey assisted Ratliff with some form work with Tara Scieszinski). The athletes that made the trip this last weekend were Smith, Bonnett, CJ Ratliff, and John Pistek.

Brooke Smith raced in the 13-14 year old division where she ran to a new personal best in the 4K race, finishing in 19:08, and in 14th place. The top 20 qualified individually for the National Championships.

“Brooke ran amazing today,” said Coach Ratliff. “She started the race very smart, and gradually worked her way up. She was in 17th place with about 600 meters to go, dug down and found another gear, and passed three additional runners while racing to the up-hill finish line. It was fun to watch her hit another gear at the end of the race.”

Dawson Bonnett, who raced the same course a year ago in a time of 16:18, ran a smooth 15:40 to take 19th place overall in the 13-14 year old division. “At about a mile and a half into the race, Dawson made a strong move to go from the 24th position into the qualifying position,” said Coach Ratliff. “He held on at the end and punched his ticket to Nationals. It was a solid race for him today.”

CJ Ratliff, who also ran the course a year ago, cut 36 seconds off of his 2016 time to run a 15:57 and finish 22nd place overall. “CJ was a little disappointed at his placing, but I was proud of his gutsy race,” said Coach Ratliff. “He was a little nervous before he started and that may have hurt his time a little, but dropping 36 seconds is no joke.”

The lone seventh grade runner that made the trip was John Pistek who was coming off of his second place seventh grade statewide meet run. John paced himself very well and finished the hilly course in a time of 16:10. “John looked good out there today,” said Coach Ratliff. “He stayed relaxed and had a nice push in the last 800 meters to overtake three or four runners. I think he had fun, and I know he put out a great effort on the course today.”

The Brocaw Blazers were able to qualify both the 13-14 year old girls and boys team with Regional Championships for each. This allows all the runners who competed (including CJ and John) the opportunity to run in the National Meet in Ohio.

Brock Ratliff and Landon Noe also received an invitation to the national meet for the state qualifying performance they had in 2A for the Iowa High School State meet, and their affiliation with the Brocaw Blazers team.

Carter Anderson, CJ Ratliff, Bonnett, Noe, and Ratliff were all part of the National Championship team with the Brocaw Blazers in 2016.

© 2017 Albia Newspapers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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