(Photo Courtesy of Rob Howe)
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Defending Class 4A state champion Bailey Nock kicked off her senior season in style Thursday at the University of Iowa Ashton Cross Country Course. The Iowa City West High standout won Trojan Earlybird Invitational in a time of 18:47.8.
"We did a time trial here last week and I ran a lot better than I did last week. I felt a lot better. I ran very smooth compared to last week. Throughout the race you always hit points where it really hurts and you feel like you don't want to keep going. I'm happy with my race," Nock said.
Nock's ICW teammate Colleen Bloeser ran the course in 19:49.4 to finish second and help West to the team title. The Women of Troy (26) edged North Scott (30), who claimed the third-, fourth- and fifth-place runners in Presley Case (19:55.3), Sommer Clydesdale (20:11.5) and Maddie Case (20:21.6). Davenport Assumption took third (75).
It was a nice return to competition for Bloeser, who was hampered by overtraining dating back to her freshman year. She's been determined to fix that as a senior.
"For a long time I was having trouble completing runs, completing races because I would get hit with the overtraining and not be able to push through it. I really wanted to see if I would be able to push through it and do well and fight past that anxiety associated with it. That was a big achievement for me today," She said.
Bloeser credited Nock for pushing her.
"I think Bailey is a big reason why I was able to do as well as I did today," Bloeser said.
Nock ended up averaging 6:03 per mile for the 18:47 finish. She won the state meet last year in 18:06.9.
"I just wanted to see where I'm at right now. I didn't want to just go through the motions and run the race. I need to push myself, I need to keep going as if there are 50 people around me," she said.
Assumption's Julia Schumacher, who finished third in the Class 3A state meet last year did not compete on Thursday, but should be another athlete to keep an eye on going into these early season meets.
Check out more coverage from the race, like race photos, videos, and interviews here!