MARSHALLTOWN — Coming off a historic season for the Ottumwa girls track and field program, twin sisters Alli and Grace Bookin-Nosbisch helped the OHS girls cross-country season get off to a winning start.
Joined by fellow state championship-winning senior teammate Carollin Mellin, the Bookin-Nosbisch siblings gave the Bulldogs a trio of top-five individual finishes at the Marshalltown Early Bird meet. Those top-five points would prove to be the difference in the team title race with OHS edging CIML Metro conference rival Des Moines Roosevelt by a single point (44-45) and Urbandale by nine.
Alli Bookin-Nosbisch picked up the individual win, beating Roosevelt freshman Arianna Jackson by 43 seconds in what proved to be the key battle for the team championship. The 4A girls open 800 state champion was the only female runner on Thursday to finish the season-opening race in under 20 minutes as Bookin-Nosbisch finished in 19:19.
Just nine seconds behind Jackson was Grace Bookin-Nosbisch, who placed third in her first ever high school varsity cross-country meet. Bookin-Nosbisch posted a season-opening time of 20:11, just 10 seconds faster than Mellin who came home in fourth place.
Juniors Meghan Coulter and Isabelle Mellin both cracked the top 20 for Ottumwa with Coulter, a state champion member of Ottumwa’s 4x800 relay team in the spring, placing 17th on Thursday in 22:19. The younger of the Mellin sisters placed 19th in 22:38 while Sophia Ford placed 21st for Ottumwa in 22:49. Lina Newland rounded out the varsity girls lineup for the Bulldogs finishing 28th in 23:54.
“All the varsity girls posted faster times than last year,” Ottumwa head girls cross-country coach Kristen Mitchell said. “The girls have put in a lot of quality workouts. We are happy to see it paying off.”
Ottumwa head boys cross-country coach Jeff Smith was also pleased with the season-opening performance of his team at Marshalltown. Asa Canny’s eighth-place run of 18:02.4 led the Bulldogs to a third-place finish as a team with 97 points. Southeast Polk edged Urbandale by nine (31-40) for the boys team title.
“I thought we ran really well,” Smith said. “Asa Canny had a great improvement from this meet last year. He’s put in a lot of base miles. We always talk about the wider the base, the more potential you have.”
Max Thomason placed 13th for the Bulldog boys in 18:25.8 while Mason Young finished 19th in 18:37.6. Senior teammates Trenten Elliott and Tayler Young were next across the finish line for OHS with Elliott coming home in 24th place in 19:07.4 while Young crossed in 33rd in 19:37.2.
Jake Mellin posted a 45th-place showing in his first varsity race for the Ottumwa boys in 20:21.8. Dante Solomon rounded out the night for the Bulldog varsity with a time of 20:48.9, good for 48th place.
In junior varsity action on Thrusday, the Ottumwa girls scored 133 points to place fifth led by a 37th-place run from sophomroe Chloe Shaw in 29:15. The Bulldog boys JV team also placed fifth with 145 points, paced by a 10th-place run from junior Gatlin Meninga in 20:23.
Ottumwa will run at the Pekin-hosted Wildwood cross-country meet next Thursday.