OTTUMWA — Cody McConnell and Sydney Strunk stars shined brightly when the Ottumwa track and field teams put on the Don Newell Invitational Tuesday at Schafer Field, but when all was said and done, it was the Centerville boys track and field team that emerged as one of the day’s biggest winners.
The Big Reds claimed first-place honors among the boys with a score of 105 points. Despite Cody McConnell’s running exploits — he took first in the 3,200-meter run with 10:12.48 — the Bulldogs still had to settle for seventh with 45 points. Meanwhile, for the Ottumwa girls, Strunk captured first-place honors in the 400 meters with 1:01.75 and the Bulldogs finished fifth with 77 points. While, at least in the 400 meters, Strunk was queen, Charlette Flanders also performed expertly, as she took second in the race with 1:02.54.
“Those two young ladies have really worked hard,” Ottumwa girls track and field coach Steve Green said. “They have both gotten a lot stronger in the weight room and they have bought into the training on how to run the 400. They are what you call silent leaders; they let their running do their talking for them.”
Other highlights for the Bulldog boys centered on the achievements of Logan McCarty, who took second in the 100-meter dash with 11.62 and the 400-meter low hurdles with 59.45.
Although unsatisfied with where his teams placed, Ottumwa boys track and field coach Jim Nickerson was heartened by the strides his guys are making.
“I was pleased with the meet, not so much with the place we got, but that all our times improved,” he said. “I’m trying to prepare a team for the future. We’ve been gifted with great talent for the last couple of years and we’re trying to rebuild with some young kids. The track team is mostly made up of juniors and freshman.”