IOWA CITY, Iowa - Paige Holub's goal was simple - repeat. The Monticello senior won the Bob Brown Classic here a year ago and that was the plan Thursday at that event.
Holub completed the course in 20:30.28 to easily outdistance second-place finisher Hallie Kephart (21:11.31), a junior from Marion. Solon freshman Kiersten Conway (21:12.72) was a close third.
"I knew the teams that were here last year and I was able to win it. The plan again was to win it," Holub said. "I ran at (the Cedars Rapids) Prairie (Invitational) last week, so the goal was to get a better time than that."
While Holub came up short of that goal (she ran a 20:02.00 at Prairie), she still was pleased with her run. The course on Thursday was more challenging.
"The one main hill was the hardest and then they had wood-chip hills. It was pretty difficult," she said.
Monticello captured the team title with a score of 42. Senior Taylor McDonald (21:29.83) crossed the finish line in 6th, while teammates Jordyn Patterson (21:46.15) and Gabrielle Steiner (21:48.96) came in ninth and 10th, respectively.
Kephart's second-place finish was supported by teammates Corrina Dittmer (21:31.74) and Kelsi Huhndorf (21:52.35), who took eighth and 11th, respectively. That helped the Indians to a runner-up finish with 73 points.
"I feel like we're all coming along well as a team and are improving each time," Kephart said.
Kephart ran the Cedar Rapids Prairie Invitational in 21:15.00, which placed her 25th. She had mixed emotions regarding Thursday's run.
"I felt OK about it. Last year, I felt like the course was harder. My time was slower this year but I felt good during it and kind of stuck with the pack more than last year so it was easier," she said.
Solon grabbed third place with 98 points. Conway collected her first top-three finish in just her second varsity race.
"I felt pretty good from start to finish but I could feel it on the second lap," she said.
Conway improved her time of 21:44.00 at Prairie.
"Last race, I didn't have spikes and this race I did, so I felt a little bit different," she said. "Also, last meet was our first so it was a little nerve-racking being my first high school meet. Now I'm just getting a little more used to it and feeling a little bit more comfortable."
Anamosa's Emma Duncan (21:15.95) grabbed fourth place for a team that finished fourth. Mount Vernon-Lisbon's Aubrey Frey (21:16.72) took fifth with Iowa City Liberty's McKenzie Logan (21:30.44) coming in seventh.