Tackling the hills
It's quite a sight on a sunny morning to watch hundreds of runners start a race.
“I think it's beautiful,” said New Hampton cross country coach Jamie Quass Ohrt after the Luther All-American Invitational Saturday competed with 28 schools in attendance.
“But for the kids, it's a little intimidating.” Turkey Valley coach Sarah Bakula concurred. “This was a lot bigger than most of our meets and the kids didn't run here last year. From my experience, you walk into a race with 100 runners and it's very nerve-racking, especially for the younger kids.”
With all the rain the area had last year, the meet was not held. Even with the dry weather this year, it was a challenging course.
“The first mile it gets pretty hilly and there's not a lot of room,” Ohrt noted, “you get behind somebody and you can get stuck there. Going up the hills are hard, but coming down is hard too. I was glad no one fell.”
Of the 26 schools to count a girls varsity team, New Hampton was 23rd. With only two runners, Turkey Valley didn't score as a team.
Olivia Burke led the New Hampton runners in 77th place of 176 runners in 22:09, three seconds more than her time from less challenging courses at Mason City and Waverly. Sadie Tenge ran just 10 seconds slower than her first two meets, in 114th place with a 23:05.
“Good Lord, yes, Waverly had some slopes, Luther had hills,” said Ohrt.
But even with those hills, Lydia Gessner again slashed time from her personal record while coming in 123rd in 23:21.
For the results of all the New Hampton and Turkey Valley runners, please seee the Sept. 12 Tribune.