PELLA, Iowa - The Simpson men's and women's cross country teams got off to a strong start at the Dutch Invitational on Saturday, posting two top-two finishes between the squads.
Senior Catie Ellingson (Indianola, Iowa) took medalist honors in the women's 5k and freshman Joe Farrand (Kansas City, Mo.) placed second in the men's 6k for the Storm. The men's team turned in three top-15 performances to finish third of eight teams and the women had two top-15 finishers, taking fourth.
"We had a great start to our 2010 season," head coach Brad Hofer said. "I feel like all of our runners have been working really hard and we are making significant improvements."
Farrand finished only two seconds off the pace for the men's team, making a good impression in his Simpson debut after running a 19:47.
"Joe made a huge splash in his first collegiate race," Hofer said.
Sophomore John Warnke (Dubuque, Iowa) placed 24th (20:32), junior Matt Stone (Boone, Iowa) took 27th (20:39), freshman Max Nquyen (Garrison, Iowa) came in 57th and junior Pat Gerhardt (Algona, Iowa) placed 61st (21:47), rounding out the Storm's top seven runners.
The win is the first of Ellingson's career on the women's side, as she finished second at the event a year ago. Running an 18:44, she finished 50 seconds ahead of the next collegiate competitor, Ashley Ameling of Iowa Central.
"Catie ran fantastic today," Hofer said. "Jade Osborne also ran well and is showing great improvements from last year."
A sophomore, Osborne (Goodyear, Ariz.) improved 25 spots from a year ago, taking 16th (20:29). A pack of three runners followed Osborne, as sophomore Molly Rhodes (Des Moines, Iowa) took 28th (21:13), senior Ashley Drogo (Red Oak, Iowa) placed 31st (21:18) and junior Erin Guzman (Traer, Iowa) finished 32nd (21:19).
Sophomore Jayde Boyle (Holstein, Iowa) placed 40th and freshman Shelby King (Tipton, Iowa) rounded out the Storm's top seven runners.
The Storm have a week off before heading to Northfield, Minn. for the St. Olaf Invitational on Sept. 18.