Two meets in four days for the #3 ranked Albia Blue Demons showed little let down as they faced off in a field of very tough running. The 90+ heat index in the field of four highly ranked teams (Albia 2A-#3, Williamsburg 2A-#6, 2A-#10 Davis County, 3A-#16 Grinnell), and hills only added to the excitement of the race that would take place. When the sweat settled, Albia would come up just two points shy of the team title and be nudged out by 2A-#6 ranked Williamsburg.
“This meet was incredible from the standpoint of the spectators and coaches,” said Coach Todd Ratliff. “When it was all said and done, the field produced four very good teams all within five points of the team title.”
Landon Noe would lead the Blue Demons through the finish line in a 4th place finish in 18:24. “All three of the young men that finished in front of Landon are ranked runners from their teams. To be ranked individually is tough when you realize there are about 2000 competitors from each class in cross country. Landon hung on right with some of the best tonight,” said Coach Ratliff.
Brock Ratliff would come through in a top 10 placing with a time of 18:43, good enough for 8th place. “Brock did well to hang on tonight. He accidently ran off course for a few seconds at about the 2-mile mark and tripped, fell and got up with about three-quarters of a mile to go. Although he struggled a bit he battled through and had a great finish,” said the coach.
Continuing his outstanding sophomore campaign, Dawson Bonnett would also make it four for four in the medaling department with his 14th place finish in a time of 19:12. “To be able to have this third runner up front for us meet after meet has really solidified the finishes that our team has been having this season,” said Coach Ratliff.
As has become racing strategy for the Blue Demons, the “chase pack” of four runners held par again during the race. Sophomore CJ Ratliff and Cody Dalman led the push late in the race to place 29th and 31st to solidify the team’s second place finish. Ratliff would finish in 19:51 with Dalman stopping the clock at 19:52. “These two guys really fed off of each other late in the race today. With the passes they made in the last 800 meters, the team went from a potential fourth place finish to the second place finish,” said Coach Ratliff.
First year runner Barrett Bonnett would finish in a time of 20:08 with Max Teno hot on his heels with a 20:10 finish. Bonnett would record a 40th place finish with Teno coming through in 42nd. “Everything they had is what they gave tonight. It was enjoyable watching these two battle and with their placing they pushed the score up on Newton, Knoxville, and Osky helping to separate the top four teams,” said Coach Ratliff.
“We have been running well. Tonight we fought through some fatigue and the elements. Nights like tonight make us stronger individually and as a team,” he said.
In the team race, 1st –Williamsburg (2A-#6) 84, 2nd-Albia (2A-#3) 86, 3rd- Grinnell (3A-#16) 87, Ottumwa (4A) 89, Newton (4A) 110, Fairfield 119, Knoxville 158, Oskaloosa 164, Davis County (2A-#10) 191, Chariton 321, EBF 343, No Team Score-Pella Christian, Centerville, Twin Cedars.
The Albia Blue Demon Cross Country team (69-3) will be in Eddyville next Tuesday.