The Ottumwa Courier


October 8, 2012

Ottumwa girls take first at Des Moines East Invitational

DES MOINES — Kelsey Howard didn’t  feel too good after she finished her run at the Des Moines East Invitational Thursday.

She had exerted a lot of energy fending off three Marshalltown girls who were hot on her trail at the end of the race.

“Those three Marshalltown girls were right behind and I was literally yelling ‘go Kelsey, go,’” coach Angela Chaney said.

And Howard did go, and her “go” was fast enough to stay in front of the three girls. Her exertions earned her a 13th place finish with a time of 18:27. But after the race, Howard was reeling from the effects of her extra effort, Chaney said.

Yet, afer the race, she was feeling the effects of her extra effort, the coach said.  Although she didn’t know it at the time, Howards’ extra effort would secure a first place finish for the Bulldogs.

When the points were tallied after the race, Ottumwa and Marshalltown were tied for first with 32 points. The winner would depend on how fast each squad’s sixth runner finished. The sixth runner for Ottumwa just happened to be Howard, while the Bobcats’ sixth runner was one of three girls behind her.

“We just won because you out-kicked those girls,” Chaney told Howard after the race.

The girls’ triumph also owed to the fact that the top 10 was occupied by four Bulldogs. Caroline Owens took second at the invite with 16:52 and Daylin Latham claimed third with 16:58. In addition, Charlette Flanders came in sixth with 17:39 and Sydney Strunk took ninth with 17:57.

“I was super-excited because I knew it was going to be a pretty close race,” Chaney said after the race. “I think it will be a great boost for our girls going into conference (meets).”

Also, Chaney said, beating Marshalltown   helps her team’s confidence because the Bobcats are one of the schools Ottumwa will see at districts. On the boy’s side, Cody McConnell and Charlie Altfillisch finished first and second in the race. McConnell claimed first with 16:33 and Altifillisch placed second with 17:03.

“Cody and Charlie, as they have all year, ran great,” coach Jeff Smith said.

Smith was especially impressed with Altifillisch’s performance.

“I thought he just ran spectacular,” she said.

The top two finishers, however, were not enough to gain Ottumwa a first place finish. The Bulldogs took second with a score of 47, five above Marshalltown, who finished first with 42.

 “We just had too big a gap between two and three and three and four and even four and five,” Smith said.

Collin McConnell claimed ninth with a personal best time of 18:18. Shane Riley came in 15th with 18:56 and Curtis Ford claimed 20th with 19:32.

“I think we are getting better and peaking at the right time of the season,” Smith said.

The Ottumwa cross country teams will compete in the CIML Metro Confeence Tuesday.

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