Conrad leads MP pack to team title
The Mt. Pleasant girls’ cross-country team could hardly have asked for a better finish.
Their first runner finished second and their last scorer finished 10th, just 48 seconds between them. All five crossed the line in the 16-minute range and earned Mt. Pleasant a team title at its home meet on Tuesday at McMillan Park.
“We’ve been trying to close the gap between our third and fourth runners, so we kind of freaked out today when we found out that our top five were all in the top 10 runners,” Mt. Pleasant’s Ellie Conrad said. “That hasn’t happened yet this year. We also had all five run sub-17 (minute) times, and that’s the best we’ve done by a long shot.”
Conrad led the pack with a second-place finish in 16:09, just four seconds behind race winner Kaylee Alvarez of Ft. Madison.
“I want to stay with her, but she’s a phenomenal runner,” Conrad said.
Unlike many of the runners at the meet, Conrad looks forward to running up and down the terrain at the Old Threshers grounds.
“I love this course,” Conrad said. “I love hills. Where I live is pretty much all hills, so I get a lot of practice.”
Conrad is a track and field state qualifier in the 1,500-meter run, but she usually focuses on dance in the fall.
“I haven’t run cross-country seriously until now,” Conrad said. “We all ran a lot this summer to get ready, and it really came together this week. It makes me really excited for conference and district.”
The second runner for Mt. Pleasant was Beth Wells, who transferred from Cedar Falls and has been a big aid to the Panthers this year. She finished fourth overall in 16:31, just a step ahead of teammate Chloe Haffarnan, who took fifth in 16:32.
“Chloe (Haffarnan) had a mean finish to her race — she’s a great sprinter,” Mt. Pleasant Girls’ Coach Jean Caboth said.
Natalie Ita was fourth for the Panthers and ninth overall with a time of 16:53, followed by Emma Ludwig in 10th, 16:56.
Also running for Mt. Pleasant was Hannah Weber, who was 12th in 17:23, and Jenna Ludwig, 17th in 17:54.
“All but one of our runners had a season’s best time,” Caboth said. “The cooler weather was great.”
The Panthers finished with a team score of 30 points, and Ft. Madison was second with 44. Third, fourth and fifth went to Fairfield (55), Washington (120) and Keokuk (135), respectively.