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“Decorah is a community for runners,” said Patrick Larson, a top runner for the boys’ cross country team at Decorah High School. “We’ve got great trails. We’ve got (Luther College), which is a great college with a great team. And we’ve got a pretty big tradition.”
Here’s what else Decorah has: The top-ranked boys’ and girls’ cross country teams in Class 3A.
Thursday is the day of reckoning for cross country runners throughout the state — girls’ regionals and boys’ districts. The top three teams and the top 10 individuals from each site advance to the state meet Oct. 27 at Lakeside Golf Course, Fort Dodge.
The hope is in place at Decorah to sweep the state championships next week.
“It’s always the dream. It’s what we shoot for,” said girls’ coach Christy Nimrod. “It all depends on who has the best run at state. We just worry about ourselves and hope things fall into place.”
The Vikings will compete at a 3A state-qualifier at Waverly. It will be much more difficult for Nimrod to assemble her roster than for the team to advance.
“Honestly, I have 10 or 12 girls that could be running varsity,” she said. “We could go a variety of directions, and we would compete well.”
Seniors Shana Kelly and Brinn Anderson and sophomore Gara Lonning have been the girls’ leaders. Larson and classmates Kyle Hosting, Thomas Knobbe and Ethan Pankow key the boys’ squad.
“Hopefully, we’re hitting our peak at the right time,” Larson said.
Last year, the boys were second at state and the girls were fifth.
Participation numbers are extremely high. More than 60 girls are out. And for a school with a successful football program (also ranked No. 1 in the state), the boys’ cross country squad runs about 45 strong.
“It’s just such an active town,” Nimrod said. “The school is good about getting kids in multiple activities.”
EVANS WILL RETURN
Linn-Mar standout Josh Evans will return for a Class 4A district at Marshalltown, his first competitive race in more than a month.
“He’s doing a lot better,” Lions Coach Todd Goodell said. “He’s had two or three really good practice runs. But he’s not completely out of the woods yet in terms of having no issues down the road.”
Evans, a state runner-up last year, last raced Sept. 15 at Ames, where he started having problems with an IT band, a muscle which Goodell said starts at the outside of the hip, wraps around the front of the leg and into the inside of the knee.
“It tightened up after the ISU meet (Sept. 15), and it never really loosened back up,” Goodell said. “He got it checked out and got some good stretching and strengthening exercises.
“We expect he’ll run well Thursday and advance.”
No. 2 runner Daniel Murphy (hip flexor) also is expected to run Thursday.
C.R. MEET AT TUMA
The 4A meet hosted by Cedar Rapids Kennedy will be at the Tuma Soccer Complex, not at Noelridge Park.
Four Metro teams (Kennedy, Washington, Prairie and Jefferson) will be at the nine-team meet, as well as Iowa City West and Iowa City High. The girls’ race is set for 4 p.m., the boys at 4:30.
THURSDAY’S DISTRICT/REGIONAL CROSS COUNTRY MEETS
Top 3 teams, top 10 individuals qualify from each site
At Cedar Rapids (Tuma Soccer Complex), 4 p.m. – Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Iowa City High, Iowa City West, Muscatine, Waterloo East, Western Dubuque.
At Marshalltown, 4 p.m. – Ankeny, Cedar Falls, Linn-Mar, Marshalltown, Mason City, Newton, Ottumwa, Southeast Polk, Waterloo West.
At Anamosa 4 p.m. — Anamosa, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Clear Creek Amana, Davenport Assumption, DeWitt Central, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Maquoketa, Marion, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon-Lisbon, Solon, Washington.
At Pella, 4 p.m. — Benton Community, Carlisle, Centerville, Chariton, Clarke (boys only), Fairfield, Grinnell, Knoxville, Nevada, Oskaloosa, Pella, South Tama, Williamsburg.
At Waverly, 4 p.m. — Charles City, Crestwood, Decorah, Dubuque Wahlert, Independence, Iowa Falls-Alden/AGWSR, Oelwein, Union, Vinton-Shellsburg, Waterloo Columbus, Waukon, Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware.
At Columbus Junction, 4 p.m. — Albia, Central Lee, Columbus Junction, Danville-New London, Davis County, Eddyville-Blakesburg, Louisa-Muscatine, Mediapolis, Mid-Prairie, Northeast, Pella Christian, Tipton, Wapello, West Burlington-Notre Dame.
At Monticello, 4 p.m. — Camanche, Cascade, Center Point-Urbana, Dyersville Beckman, Iowa City Regina, MFL MarMac, Monticello, New Hampton, North Cedar, North Fayette, South Winneshiek, Springville-Central City, Sumner-Fredericksburg, West Liberty.
At Arlington, 4 p.m. — Alburnett (boys only), Bellevue, Bellevue Marquette, Calamus-Wheatland, Clayton Ridge, Clinton Prince of Peace, Dunkerton, East Buchanan, Edgewood-Colesburg, Elkader Central, Hudson, Janesville, Jesup, Lansing Kee, Maquoketa Valley, Midland, Nashua-Plainfield, North Linn, Preston, Starmont, Tripoli, Turkey Valley, Valley Community, Valley Lutheran, Wapsie Valley.
At Marshalltown, 3:30 p.m. — Belle Plaine, Belmond-Klemme, BGM, Colfax-Mingo, Colo-Nesco, Conrad BCLUW, Corwith CWL, Denver, Dike-New Hartford, Eagle Grove, Garwin GMG, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Grandview Park Baptist (boys only), Grundy Center, HLV, Lake Mills, Latimer CAL, Mason City Newman, Meskwaki Settlement (boys only), Montezuma, North Butler, North Iowa (girls only), North Tama, Ogden, Rockford, Saint Ansgar, Southeast Webster, West Fork.
At Ottumwa, 4 p.m. — Cardinal, Durant, English Valleys, Fort Madison Holy Trinity, Highland, Iowa Mennonite, Keota, Lone Treem, Lynnville-Sully, Moravia, Mormon Trail (boys only), North Mahaska, Pekin, Pleasantville, Scattergood Friends, Sigourney, Southeast Webster, Tri-County, Twin Cedars, Van Buren, Van Meter, Wayne, Wilton, Winfield-Mount Union, Woodward Academy (boys only).