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Six MFL MarMac runners earn all-conference cross country honors

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Malachi Ames (left), Jacob Schellhorn and Tucker Ruff burst off the starting line in the Upper Iowa Conference cross country meet. Schellhorn won the boys individual title for the second straight year, Ruff was sixth and Ames 11th. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Bulldogs Skylar Fisk (left), Clare Grau and Brooke Donlon run together in the Oct. 11 conference meet. Fisk and Donlon were a respective 10th and 12th, earning all-conference honors. Grau finished 16th.

Cora Keehner ran her second best time of the season to place seventh in the conference cross country meet.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

Six MFL MarMac runners earned all-conference status based on their top-15 performances at the Upper Iowa Conference cross country meet on Oct. 11. The race, held at Silver Springs Golf Course in Ossian, was moved up a day due to impending weather—a move MFL MarMac coach Eric Koenig praised.

 

Running in a cool but sunny setting, many Bulldogs turned in another round of personal bests.

 

“Everybody is PR-ing week to week, and we’ve been doing that the last three or four weeks,” Koenig said.

 

He attributed it to MFL MarMac’s practice regimen.

 

“We’re working our butts off. And it’s paying off. My end goal this season has been the district meet—that’s what we’re working for. To see them PR-ing from week to week is more than I expected, which means they are recovering from our workouts better and responding to them,” Koenig explained.

 

Leading the way was Jacob Schellhorn, whose 17:18 time gave the junior his second straight UIC title. Schellhorn’s time was nearly 30 seconds better than the next closest competitor.

 

“We wanted to go under 17 tonight, but knew there wasn’t anybody else who could do that and push him,” Koenig said. “We know the time he’s run will get him to state, though. So we’ll just enjoy having a conference champion.”

 

Teammate Tucker Ruff turned in a sixth-place effort after crossing the line in 18:42.3. Malachi Ames also secured a personal best, coming in 11th with a 19:12.4.

 

Logan Ross’s time of 22:4 placed him 45th, and Wolfgang Martins-Sabrina took 48th with a 23:14.3.

 

The Bulldogs’ score of 104 put them fourth as a team, trailing North Fayette Valley with 62, Central 75 and South Winneshiek 86.

 

Sophomore Cora Keehner led MFL MarMac in the girls race, placing seventh in 21:32. 

 

“Cora wasn’t happy with her time, which was her second best of the season. She’s run a 21:10, which is what she’ll need to do next week [at districts],” Koenig said. “I think she went out a little fast today. The downhill start messed with us. It’s just too tempting.”

 

Not far behind Keehner were a pair of freshmen. Skylar Fisk ran a 21:56 to finish 10th, and Brooke Donlon was 12th with a time of 22:10.9. 

 

Senior Clare Grau’s 22:38.3 put her just outside the top 15. Koenig labeled it her best race since a state run her freshman season.

 

Emma Koether ran a 23:29.1 to place 21st, and Evelyn Ruff crossed 25th with a time of 24:01.1. Samantha Ruff earned 35th on a 26:03.4.

 

The Bulldogs placed third as a team, their 59 points just behind North Fayette Valley’s 55. South Winneshiek won the meet with a score of 29.

 

Although MFL MarMac will face six ranked teams in the district/state qualifying meet at Monticello this week, Koenig feels the girls are a little underrated.

 

“I think we can get in the top five teams if we do what we’ve been training to do,” he said.

 

The boys and girls teams overall, “I think we’re good to go. Times are there,” the coach added. “We’ve run some of the times we need to run. Now, it’s just repeating it one more time.”

 

MFL MarMac will compete in the Class 2A state qualifying meet at the Monticello Golf Course on Thursday, Oct. 19, starting at 4 p.m.

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