DES MOINES – Two team goals were written in chalk earlier this week at Wildwood Park by the Ottumwa girls cross-country team.
The Bulldogs achieved one of those goals on Thursday by the slimmest of margins. Next Thursday in Marshalltown, Ottumwa can achieve the second goal.
All seven Ottumwa varsity runners earned all-conference honors by placing in the top 15, helping the Bulldogs edge 11th-ranked (4A) Des Moines Roosevelt by a single point (28-29) for the CIML Metro Conference team championship at Ewing Park. The championship gives OHS plenty of momentum heading into next week’s Class 4A state qualifying meet, where the Bulldogs will look to achieve the goal of a berth as one of the top three teams competing at the Marshalltown Community College course.
“We talked all week about the race coming down to one point and that every place would count,” Ottumwa head girls cross-country coach Kristin Mitchell said. “I was very proud of the girls for really racing mentally tough, pack running and taking a risk.
“This is a great confidence boost for us going into districts. We will need to beat a ranked team to get to state. Beating Roosevelt showed us we have what it takes to get there.”
Alli Bookin-Nosbisch secured the individual girls CIML Metro conference title on Thursday, beating out Des Moines Roosevelt’s Arianna Jackson by over 17 seconds finishing the race in 19:15.16. Grace Bookin-Nosbisch followed Roosevelt teammates Jackson and Abi Hahn across the finish line, placing fourth in 20:44.16 while defending individual Metro conference champion Carollin Mellin placed fifth for OHS in 20:54.79.
Meghan Coulter added a top-10 run for the Bulldogs, following in Mellin and Bookin-Nosbisch in 21:12.16 to place sixth in the conference meet. Roosevelt teammates Elle Green (21:14.46), Adrienne Buettner-Cable (21:30.66), Anna Gilbreath (21:39.21) and Sarah Fleming (22:00.62) swept the final four spots in the top 10, assuring the Roughriders would win the conference title on a tiebreaker.
Isabelle Mellin, Sophia Ford and Lina Newland assured that would not happen. Mellin clinched the team title by finishing 12th in 22:32.84 while Ford (13th in 22:38.13) and Newland (14th in 22:51.93) also earned all-Metro honors to provide the Bulldogs with plenty of insurance in claiming the team title.
“The course was a muddy mess and very hilly, but we have been working hard on hills all year,” Mitchell said. “The girls went out and attacked the race. This was the best team racing I’ve seen all year.”
The Ottumwa boys finished third in the CIML Metro conference meet with 73 points, seven shy of Des Moines Lincoln for second place. Des Moines Roosevelt won the conference boys team title with 30 points.
Asa Canny earned all-Metro conference honors, placing fifth for the Bulldogs in a time of 17:46.3. Max Thomason also secured all-conference honors for OHS, placing 11th in 18:24.2.
The Ottumwa girls junior varsity team placed second with 49 points. Mallory Morgan led the way for the Bulldogs, placing seventh in 25:18.43.
The Ottumwa boys junior varsity team also finished second with 54 points. Quintin Hull led the Bulldogs, placing sixth in 19:19.61.