It had been nearly three weeks since the Muscatine cross country teams last raced. But thanks to a culture set by the Muskie seniors, that seemed to make little difference on Thursday.
"If we don't have a group that buys in like this we wouldn't have been this fast today," Muscatine boys coach Chris Foxen said.
The boys team won the Fort Madison Invitational and was led by two top three finishes. Senior Tevin Tovar placed second in 16 minutes, 58 seconds and fellow senior Owen Hazelwood placed third in 17 minutes, 14 seconds.
“They both went with their strengths," Foxen said. "Tevin just has a big motor so he went out really hard right away and did great. Owen is a physically strong person in the weight room and a sprinter so he can’t go as hard the whole time but the last mile and a half he really pours it on.”
The Muskies also had runners place sixth through ninth with Eli Roeth placing sixth, Aidan Armstrong seventh, Sam Gordon eighth and Logan Kirchner ninth.
Armstrong set a career personal record with a time of 17 minutes, 53 seconds after never breaking 19 minutes before. Foxen also applauded Roeth's result after a rough start to the season.
"Running by yourself is where you slow down," Foxen said. "Running with groups of people is where you have to compete. Competition is where the good times are and where you win.”
Meanwhile, the Muskie girls placed second in the same meet. Rylee Blake was Muscatine's top runner, as the junior placed third in 20 minutes, 47 seconds. Freshman Sophia Thomas placed eighth in 22 minutes, 16 seconds while Emmie Smith placed 12th.
Local cross county teams compete at Fort Madison: Wapello, Columbus and Louisa-Muscatine all ran in the 'B' division of the Fort Madison Invitational on Thursday.
Wapello, Columbus and Louisa-Muscatine placed sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the boys side.
Louisa-Muscatine's Paul Hoopes was the top area runner with a 15th place finish in 19 minutes, 48 seconds. Hunter Humiston paced Columbus with a 21st place finish, while Griffin Schoonover led Wapello with a 27th place finish.
On the girls side, Wapello placed fourth and Columbus placed sixth. Evelyn Peck led all locals, as the Wapello freshman placed ninth in 23 minutes, 20 seconds. Anna Hamilton led Columbus with a 17th place finish. Even though Louisa-Muscatine didn't have enough runners for a team score, but was led by Abby Kemper's 33rd place finish.
Wilton sweeps Mid-Prairie: Wilton coach Brenda Grunder talked with her team about avoiding a letdown after a four-set win over West Liberty earlier in the week.
The Beavers heard the message loud and clear, as they pummeled Mid-Prairie, 25-6, 25-9, 25-9 Thursday night to move to 16-0 on the season.
Outside of their focus, Grunder was pleased with Wilton's play in transitions as it won three more sets. The Beavers have now won 35 or the 36 sets they've played this season.
That, as well as its 16-0 record will be put to the test Saturday when it travels to the Clinton Invitational. The Beavers will be the only Class 2A school in the loaded field.
"I'm excited and the players are too," Grunder said. "This is right where we need to be."
Wilton 25-25-25, Mid-Prairie 6-9-9
Wilton stats only
Kills -- Aubrey Putman 16, Kortney Drake 8, Alexa Garvin 4, Kelsey Drake 3, Emily Lange 3. Assists -- Ella Caffery 24. Aces -- Kortney Drake 5, Caffery 4, Digs -- Alexa Garvin 8, Kortney Drake 5. Blocks -- Kortney Drake 2, Becca Ball.
Record: Wilton 16-0, 4-1