Still looking to establish itself, the Marshalltown Community College men's cross country team took another step in the right direction at the NJCAA Division I Region XI Championships hosted on the MCC course Friday.
Led by an 11th-place finish from freshman Austin Carr, the Tigers claimed fourth as a team with a score of 119.
Battling windy and chilly conditions, Carr turned in a time of 27 minutes, 3 seconds to earn all-region honors less than a week after posting the best time (26:19) in the Tigers' four-year history.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRANDz
Marshalltown Commuity College sophomore Allen Davis, right, strides out down a hill en route to a 21st-place finish at the Region XI Cross Country Championships on MCC’s home course Friday. The West Marshall grad posted a time of 29:46 to earn all-region honors.
"Nathan has been a real bright spot all season. He's been moving up all year long and finished with a mix of very good runners today, which is very exciting for this program," said MCC coach Jarret Heil.
Sophomore Allen Davis, a West Marshall grad, placed 37th in a time of 29:46.
"Allen has been out with injury a lot this year so for him to finish near his personal best was great," said Heil.
Injuries have been a common theme for the Tigers as nearly every member of their squad has battled one at some point this season. Carr has overcome some ailments, Davis sustained a hip bruise after being hit by a car and Luke Hood was out of action Friday still nursing a knee injury.
We've been banged up this year. With those injuries it's hard to get your full training in, but we still saw improvement," said Heil.
"We finished about where we thought we'd be."
NJCAA No. 11 ranked NIACC claimed the team title with a score of 19, as all five of its runners finished in the top seven in team scoring and the top 15 overall.
Iowa Central, the second-rated team in the country, competed in the field but was not figured into the team scoring as it is currently facing some ineligibility issues.
The Tritons had seven runners in the top 10.
No. 20 Iowa Western garnered second with a score of 50 and Southwestern took third with 86.
The Tritons' Stanley Kebeni broke from the pack for a winning time of 24:34, more than a minute ahead of runner-up Jamal Boma (25:49) of Iowa Central.
Trimming nearly a minute and a half off his personal-best time, Austin Sayles finished 61st in 33:38, while Nate Sletten and David Duran placed 62nd and 64th, respectively, to complete MCC's team score.
BCLUW grad Levi Storjohann tallied a time of 26:47 for Iowa Central to take eighth overall.
Freshman Macy Logan, a former Bobcat, grabbed 41st in a time of 24:56 and was the lone representative for the MCC women's team as Tiger first-year runner Sarah Penning is still on the mend.
"Macy was near a personal best and finished about where we thought she would with the competition here," said Heil.
Top-ranked Iowa Central, the defending national champion, swept the top eight spots to cruise past the competition with a perfect score of 15.
No. 13 Iowa Western and No. 25 NIACC rounded out the top three with scores of 65 and 88 respectively.
The Tritons' Fiona McKenna topped the field in 18:17.
Finishing up its fourth season, the Tigers are putting in the work on the recruiting trail to close the gap on the elite programs in the conference.
"We've been pounding the pavement real hard. Being a relatively new program, we're still working to establish ourselves and compete against very good programs like Iowa Central, Iowa Western and NIACC," said Heil.
Carr is doing his part to bring in some top talent to join him.
"I'm trying to help my coach recruit a little bit. I'm talking to some kids from other schools and some old teammates from Grinnell that I ran with," said Carr.
The NJCAA National Cross Country Championships are Nov. 10 in Ina, Ill.