OTTUMWA — Coming off what their coach calls “good summer running programs,” sophomores Eric Davis and Sarah Keith led the Indian Hills cross country teams in the Dutch Invitational in Pella on Saturday.
IHCC coach Jim Streeby said the runners who did the best jobs with their summer programs seem to have a big advantage so far in the unseasonably hot weather the athletes have had to endure.
For the Warrior men, Davis had the best time at Pella, running the 8K course at the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex in 31:01 to lead the group of six IHCC runners who took part in the second event of the fall. Davis, from Quincy, Ill., finished in 49th place, just ahead of teammates Colter Hentzel and Ray Quiroz.
Hentzel, a sophomore from Ft. Madison, had a time of 31:26, and Quiroz, a sophomore from Columbus Junction, finished in 31:33.
"Eric Davis ran a very smart race by going out at a moderate pace," said Streeby. "He was third on the team at the one-mile and two-mile marks and then just kept moving up, with his fifth mile being his fastest."
The Warriors had three other runners who took part in the meet: Hunter Wilz, a freshman from Eddyville, who ran 35:32; Austin Emry, a freshman from Grinnell, who posted a time of 35:59; and freshman Ben Wheeler from Martelle, with a time of 38:28.
Keith, from Ottumwa, ran the 6K women’s course in 28:39 and finished in 36th place.
Indian Hills had two other runners take part women’s portion of the invitational, sophomore Addison Kepner from Centerville, who ran 29:11, good for 42nd place, and freshman Sage Richmond from Fairfield, who finished in 30:06 and 48th place.
"This was our first meet to compete at the 8K (men) and 6K (women) distances," Streeby said. "Getting in good training has been a little more difficult because of the high temps, but we have not missed a day of training. We have had to shorten some workouts and find shade where possible and have fluids available."
The times early in the season have reflected the reduced training, according to the IHCC coach. "Our times can only get better as the season progresses. We have eight weeks left in the season to work into faster times. But all teams in Iowa are facing this same situation."
The Indian Hills squads will take part in the Les Duke Invitational in Grinnell this Saturday.