IOWA CITY - Sophomore Rachel Blagg returned to the girls cross country varsity lineup with a bang Thursday evening.
In her first varsity race since undergoing an appendectomy, Blagg helped the Bobcat girls place fourth overall with a top-12 individual finish at the Iowa City Invitational. Blagg ended up 12th as the Bobcats scored 115 points and bested fifth-place Davenport Central by 16.
The Bobcats grabbed a respectable team finish at a meet that featured Class 4A No. 12 Iowa City High. Bettendorf is ranked eighth overall but only competed with one runner Thursday.
Blagg's team-leading time was 15 minutes, 48 seconds, which was just three seconds off a 10th place tally. Victoria Jones was 35th for the Bobcats, while Abby Snyder was 38th, Ellyn Boland 40th and Kari Smith ended up 43rd.
Marshalltown continues to run without the services of No. 2 runner Wyn Tann and also did not have Michaela Huey in Thursday's race either.
Iowa City High went 1-2 as Ellen Carman crossed in 15:03 and Lindsey Bruns in 15:06. Bettendorf's Megan Nickles was third but since she did not qualify for team points, Iowa City High ended up with a perfect score of 15 after also grabbing places 4-7.
Dubuque Hempstead finished second in the team standings with 58 points, and Southeast Polk was just ahead of Marshalltown with 82 points.
In boys action, Marshalltown finished sixth with 173 points, and Zach Wells finished 18th in 16:47.
"Tonight was a tough night for our team," Marshalltown coach Tim Bell said. "Even though we showed improvement in times, our competition racing was not near where we expect it to be. I challenge our team to increase their intensity of both at workouts and at races."
No. 4 Iowa City West and No. 7 Iowa City High were both in the field of seven teams. West won the meet with 39 points, while City High was second with 46 points. The individual winner was seventh-ranked Isaac Jensen of Iowa City West and he crossed the line in 15:43. Ninth-ranked Brook Price was second in 15:52. Ryan Dorman of City High was third, while Iowa City West took spots 4 and 5 with state-ranked Bailey Wetherell and Daniel Gardarsson, respectively.
Marshalltown's Daniel Talbert was 32nd overall as the Bobcats' No. 2 runner. He crossed the line in 17:12, while Nathan Phillips was 55th, Trae Peterson was 59th and Sam Johnson crossed in 65th. Hunter Barnard ended up 68th and Alex Heinrichs was 72nd.