Three Bulldog runners turn in all-conference performances

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With a 15th-place finish, Clare Grau was MFL MarMac’s top performer at the Upper Iowa Conference meet. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Kaylee Walch, who placed 19th on Oct. 15, has made huge improvements on her time this season, said head coach Eric Koenig.

Caleb Nordheim finished 19th and earned an all-conference spot on Oct. 15.

Colin Moses joined the cross country team late, but is getting back to where he was last season.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

The MFL MarMac cross country team competed in the Upper Iowa Conference meet at North Fayette Valley on Oct. 15, where three runners—Clare Grau, Kaylee Walch and Caleb Nordheim—turned in all-conference performances.

“The weather conditions were less than ideal, mainly the wind being the negative factor,” said head coach Eric Koenig, “but even with that the kids turned in good performances.”

Grau led the lady Bulldogs, placing 15th with a time of 22:25. Walch took the 19th position, completing the course in 23:17. Ruby Koeller was 37th at 26:27, while Cadence Weber came in 39th and Alexis Ross 40th with times of 26:52 and 27:10, respectively.

The Bulldogs had a team score of 139, placing them sixth. South Winneshiek earned the top spot with 57 points.

“Kaylee Walch has practiced great all season long and is making huge improvements on her time. Clare Grau has had some hip problems, but is really tough and can put the pain aside come race time,” said Koenig of the girls’ performances.

Junior Sydney Moser, who did not finish last week’s meet, has turned in the best times and performances all season, despite being plagued by shin splints. 

Koenig expects her, Grau and Walch to make the most noise at districts on Thursday.

On the boys side, Nordheim continued to perform well, running a 19:37 to place 19th. Will Koether finished 27th at 20:19 and Colin Moses 36th at 21:18. Koal Klenk was the 55th finisher, coming in at 24:19, while Kylee Bries, Cody Moses, JJ Lynd and Kole Pape took the 57th through 60th spots with respective times of 24:53, 25:27, 25:56 and 26:17. Hunter Kugel finished in 28:08 to place 64th, and Reilly Franzen came in 67th with a time of 28:59.

The Bulldogs accumulated 124 points, putting them fifth as a team. Host NFV scored 30 and finished first.

Of the boys, Koenig noted, “Will Koether has really impressed me last year to this year. He’ll be a force in the next couple years if he keeps knocking time off like he has. Caleb Nordheim has been our best performing guy all season long. Colin Moses joined the team late, but is getting back to where he was last year. Look for those three to be the top performers for MFL MarMac at districts.”

MFL MarMac has been plagued by injuries all season long, preventing not only Moser from being able to complete races, but the team’s lone senior girl, Rose Grau, from even competing at all. 

“Shin splints have also plagued a couple other girls and boys,” Koenig said. “They continue to compete, but you can tell it’s had an effect on their performances.”

Even with that, the Bulldogs will field full girls and boys teams (seven individuals on each team) at districts, held this Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Guttenberg Golf and Country Club. The meet will start at 4 p.m.

“I have no doubt that every individual is going to perform at their highest level,” Koenig said.

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