Two races in three days need ironmen, or women as the case may be, for them to compete. Such was the case for the Beckman girls in cross country races at Starmont and Cascade, Sept. 14 and 16.

At Starmont Sept. 14, the Blazers placed third in the Class 2A-3A division with a score of 89, trailing only Denver 24 and Center Point-Urbana 65. Fourth went to Union 103, followed by Aplington-Parkersburg 152, Waukon 156, West Delaware 172, Starmont 191, Vinton-Shellsburg 248, Independence 286 and Oelwein 296.

The top three runners were all within a minute of each other, with Maria Kruse 18th (21:33), Julia Mertz 22nd (21:48) and Madelyn Reiter 30th (22:08). Abby Knepper 33rd (22:38) and Maria Dudzik 41st (22:52) rounded out the counters. Also running were Ellie Recker 80th (25:04) and Mary Reed 103rd (26:27).

“In my opinion, this was the best race the girls have run all season,” said coach Tyson Squiers. “Not only did we bring home some individual medals but the team finished in the best position ever. We were ahead of a few ranked 1A and 3A teams, giving our girls confidence heading into the second half of the season. Maria ran 0:45 faster than last year and earned a medal for 18th. Julia and Madelyn also medaled, with Madelyn getting a PR good for seventh on our all-time list. Abby narrowly missed a medal but ran her season-best. Maria ran a PR, and 10th on our list. Ellie and Sydney both ran season bests, Jordan PR’d for her second meet in a row, Maria Grebner beat her best time by a minute and Mallory ran a very strong race.

“We’re seeing some early success and the girls are starting to take note of that to really dig deep to continue that success. They are excited, working hard in practice and competing well, all you want in a team. “

On the junior varsity side, the Blazers came in sixth with 168 points. Counting were Sydney Reiter 31st (25:452), Jordan Thier 33rd (25:56), Marie Grebner 72nd (28:12), Mallory Rea 73rd (28:12) and Chloe Goedken 104th (30:38).

At Cascade two days later, the team placed fifth with 101 points. Taking the title was Monticello 43, followed by Jesup 58, Wahlert 82, Benton Community 98, BHS, Regina 113, Maquoketa 232 and Anamosa 235. Six schools fielded incomplete teams.

Kruse ran a minute slower on the hilly course for 15th (22:33) and Madelyn Reiter 16th (22:53), Mertz 15th (22:55), Knepper 22nd (23:44) and Dudzik 43rd (25:14) rounded out the counters. Also running were Recker 56th (26:30), Sydney Reiter 63rd (27:32), Thier 69th (27:54), Paula Braun 83rd (29:18), Grebner 84th (29:18) Rea 85th (29:18), Reed 88th (29:39) and Goedken 92nd (30:13).

A junior high girls’ race at Cascade saw the Blazers come in eighth with 117, with times from Autumn Domeyer 12th (16:48), Andrea Schneider 32nd (20:37), Maria McGrane 34th (21:06), Catalina McGrane 40th (21:37) and Cheyenne Geistkemper 46th (25:34).

“Cascade is a meet that is the big checkpoint of the season. At the end of the busiest two weeks of our schedule, it’s also arguably the most difficult course to run. Being closer to home, we always have a big fan base there, which is exciting for our runners.

“The girls had another great meet and rose to the occasion, competing well against some of the top teams in the state who just happen to be in our area. They were fifth behind two top-five 2A teams, Monticello and Jesup, and a top 10 3A in Wahlert. Benton beat us by only three points.

“The girls are working together extremely well and pushing each other in the races. Maria (Kruse), Madelyn and Julia medaled again and Abby and Jordan were 1:30 faster than last year. Ellie improved by one minute, Sydney by 0:21 and Chloe tied her personal best.

“The kids were running on tired legs but this is the point in the season where we start to feel it a bit more, both mentally and physically. In a few weeks, we will start to taper our mileage to have fresh legs for conference and district races.”