PELLA, Iowa – On a blustery, sunny day the Simpson cross country teams braved the rolling hills and challenging A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex Course to place sixth in the eight-team Iowa Conference Championship meet hosted by Central College.
On the women's side it was perennial power No. 3 Wartburg who took home the hardware as they captured the team title with 30 points. Loras (43) and Luther (59) were within striking distance as they finish second and third respectively. Host Central (104), Coe (173), Simpson (179), Dubuque (180) filled out the rest of the field. Buena Vista did not register a team score.
After being led by a consistent wave of freshman throughout the year it was the senior leadership of Lindsey Borgomainerio that shone through as she paced the women in a time of 25:03 putting her in 32nd place in the 6k race.
"It was great to see Lindsey close out her conference career with a great individual effort," head coach Heath Moenck said.
Rounding out the remaining varsity scorers for the Storm was freshman Briana McCloskey who crossed the line in 25:11 (34th place), junior RaeLea Jones, 25:13 (35th), junior Bree Gaster, 25:52 (38th), and freshman Jessica Gronke, 26:09 (40).
"Despite missing a few key girls, it was nice to see others step up in a championship environment," Moenck said.
For the men it was much of the same after losing top runner junior Nick Yaeger midway through the 8k course.
Freshman Ethan Pellegrino stepped up his game to anchor the youthful Simpson squad after finishing 34th overall in a time of 27:10.
"It's good to know that I'm off to such a good start and still have an important regional meet to go," Pellegrino said. "I didn't know what to expect heading into the season but it's been a great experience joining a new team, especially one this young."
After a consistent top five made up of underclassmen throughout the year, it was a pair of seniors, Bryce Phillips and Max Nguyen, who answered the call in their last conference races. They both recorded career best times of 28:07 (59th) and 28:18 (66th), respectively.
Rounding out the top 5 were freshman Blake Willadsen, 28:26 (70th), and junior Andy Mayes 28:38 (76th).
"Ethan ran a tremendous race and has a bright future in this conference," Moenck said. "Losing top runner Nick Yeager was a tough blow for us today and it was great to have two seniors in Bryce and Max have the best races of their career today."
Central ran the table with 31 points after capturing the first three spots in the individual race to win their first team title in 49 years. Following Central's lead was Loras (53), Luther (64), Wartburg (74), Coe (183), Simpson (187), Buena Vista (195), and Dubuque (214).
The Storm will shift their attention to the upcoming NCAA Regional Championships on November 16th in Northfield, Minnesota.