The Albia Blue Demon cross country team continued to show strength in a dominating performance at Eddyville on Thursday, taking the Rocket Invitational with a score of 25, 40 points ahead of second place Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont who would score 65 for second place. “We ran more relaxed tonight than I have seen in a long time,” said Coach Todd Ratliff. “This was our first flat course of the season, and we were really ready to open up and go fast.”
Leading the way for the Blue Demons with a solid one-four-five overall finish was Landon Noe finishing with the overall individual title in his first sub-17 minute 5K race in a time of 16:38. “Breaking the 17 minute mark is a huge milestone,” said Coach Ratliff.“He talked after Centerville on Tuesday that he was going to use tonight to try and break that mark.”
Brock Ratliff would also be able to use the flat course to run his lifetime fastest 5K. He would complete the course in 17:13 (compared to 18:03 on the same course a season ago) and finish fourth overall and second on the squad. In another milestone race, freshman Dawson Bonnett would break the 18-minute barrier for the first time and finish in the top five in fifth in a time of 17:57. “Brock and Dawson both being in the realm of best performances and pushing their way into the top five was huge tonight,” said the Coach.
CJ Ratliff would come away with a personal best on the flat course in turning in a quick time of 18:17 and making the medal stand in 8th place overall. Junior Cody Dalman would push his limits as well in taking over the fifth and final team scoring spot by running an 18:25, 1:06 faster than a year ago on the same course. “CJ looked smooth tonight as did Cody. To have Cody running his best at this point of the season is exactly what we were hoping to see from him. A much better start for him really translated into a great finish in 11th place,” said Coach Ratliff.
Max Teno and Bradley Yenger would both drop below the 19-minute mark on the evening having solid runs of 18:54 and 18:56 to remain top 15 on the evening in 14th and 15th place, solidifying their spots on varsity for the upcoming conference meet in Osceola on Tuesday. Yenger was 15 seconds quicker than a year ago and Teno was a staggering two minutes and 24 seconds quicker.
Overall team scores in the meet were as follows: Albia 25, EBF 65, Southeast Warren 87, Wayne 101, Central Decatur 108, Clarke 138, and Melcher Dallas.