The Albia boys cross country team continued its tough running at Red Haw State Park on Thursday. They not only increased an eight-day, four meet record to 41-2, they also defeated #11 ranked Des Moines Christian in the process.
Landon Noe added his second individual title of the season, running a sub 17:30 for the first time in his career, breaking the tape at the finish line in 17:26. Brock Ratliff also added another top five on the season by setting a new career best time on a 5K course with a 17:48 and finishing in fourth, 45 seconds quicker than on the same course one year ago. “It was really big tonight to have both of these two in the top four. Davis County was right on our heels with Des Moines Christian not far behind. These were huge finishes when looking at the team scores,” said Coach Todd Ratliff.
Keeping the clean sweep of career best times for the top five Blue Demon finishers were freshman Dawson Bonnett who set his new best while finishing fifth in the tough field in 18:47. CJ Ratliff continues to improve, dropping his career best time for the fourth straight race, finishing one place out of the medals in 16th while running a 19:13. Sophomore Max Teno finished with his first full 5K race in under 20 minutes and ran to a 23rd place finish in 19:49 (a minute and seven seconds quicker than in 20:17 on the same course.) “These guys continue to exceed all expectations,” said Coach Ratliff. “They dug down again today after racing Tuesday and really stepped it up. They seem to all have certain runners from opposing teams that they know they need to beat for us to have a chance to win, and they all were able to do that today.”
Finishing with a time of 20:00 was senior Bradley Yenger who finished 26th, nearly 30 seconds quicker than a year ago with Carson Stocker just 12 seconds behind him in 32nd place and a time of 20:12. “These two seniors solidify our varsity group. They continue to work hard and show improvement over a season ago at the courses we’ve run,” said Coach Ratliff.
Claiming first overall in the junior varsity race was junior Cody Dalman who also saw a drop in time from a year ago. Dalman would finish the course in 20:17 right behind Stocker in 33rd overall position. Freshman Eli Zanoni would finish in 38th place in a time of 20:29 with Jackson DeMoss running a minute and 33 seconds faster than in 2017 with a time of 20:31 for 40th overall.
Freshman Logan Carter used the duration of the whole race to move his way into 45th in a time of 20:46 with Senior Cole Folkerts just missing the 21 minute mark with a time of 21:07 in 51st place. Travis Sheffield set his personal best for the fifth time this season, and eclipsed the 22 minute mark for the first time in his career running a 21:40, a full four minutes and 53 seconds better than in 2017.
Logan Stalzer ran a sub 23 minute race with a finish in 22:25 with Austin Stanley running a 23:06, 20 seconds quicker than 2017 on the same course. Stalzer and Stanley would finish 72nd and 78th overall. Gavin McMurray would run 23:30 in 86th place, Elijah Smith finished 99th in 24:07.
David Thomas, Jaylon Cox, and Caelen Robinson would place 116th, 119th, and 127th in the 135 runner field with times of 25:20, 25:46, and 27:16.
“We continue to see time drops from so many athletes, including our top runners where time gets harder and harder to drop,” said Coach Ratliff. “Landon looks to be running stronger and stronger with Brock, Dawson, and CJ pushing as well. We still are trying to solidify spots for the final push of the season from 5th to 9th runners, each with varsity experience this season. Our team average for scoring tonight was an 18:37, something we haven’t seen since 2012,” he said.
“Davis County is very strong (a team to watch along with the Blue Demons in the rankings) and we split with them this week, and were able to get a big win over another ranked team,” said the coach. “It was just a great week of running by the squad as we move forward.”
Overall team scores were very close with Albia getting first in 51 point, Davis County 54, Des Moines Christian in 59. Chariton took fourth with 122, SE Warren 166, EBF 167, Martensdale St. Marys 173, Wayne 175, Clarke in 9th with 242, Pleasantville 250, East Union, Iowa Christian Academy, Melcher-Dallas, Moravia, and Moulton Udell.
Albia will run at Eddyville on Thursday, Oct. 4.