West High senior Gabby SkopecBy Susan Harman
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – Without conceding the future, City High girls cross country coach Tom Mittman did concede the day at the Cedar Rapids Invitational.
“Obviously we’re not up to West at this point. They were stronger than us in the last mile, half mile,” he said. “I think their training is a little ahead of ours. My hat’s off to them, but we’ll see where we are in October.”
The second-ranked Women of Troy won the second head-to-head meeting of the two Iowa City schools this season, capturing the prestigious Cedar Rapids meet Thursday at Seminole Valley park. Nine ranked girls teams competed.
West finished with 55 points, 10 better than the runner-up Little Hawks. West senior Gabby Skopec won the meet in 18 minutes, 56.81 seconds, almost 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Hannah Frazee of Cedar Rapids Prairie.
“Gabby showed she’s here to try to win every race that we’re in,” West coach Mike Parker said. “She’s a senior who’s on a mission.”
“I wanted to be in the lead but me and my coach talked about strategy, and I didn’t want to leave it to a last kick,” Skopec said. “The last two to three miles that’s when I want to be going strong.”
She took the lead fairly early and cruised comfortably the rest of the way.
City High senior Mary Arch “I was just kind of running my pace, like where I wanted to run,” she said. “I felt good. My PR was 19:08 and I wanted to beat that. This course is kind of fast, but it was kind of sloppy out there today.”
West’s Bailey Nock, who was seventh at state a year ago, was sixth, Claire Ronnebaum eighth, Jessie Skopec 17th and Deniz Ince was 27th.
“It was pretty gross,” Nock said of the muddy footing. “But that’s part of the sport is not running on smooth, flat surfaces.”
Nock wasn’t particularly happy with her finish, saying she needs to work on her race preparation.
“I definitely did not run the race I wanted to run,” she said. “I didn’t run calmly. I mentally was struggling. I worked all summer on the physical part. Now I’ve got to get the mental part.”
Parker was particularly pleased with Jessie Skopec’s finish.
“Gabby ran well, but her sister coming in the fourth spot made a gigantic difference for us,” he said. “In the last 200 there was nothing left in the tank. She figured out a way to get across the line.
“Claire Ronnebaum was our sixth or seventh runner a year ago, and now she’s fighting in there with Bailey all the way to the finish. Those kinds of things give us a chance in the end.”
Senior Mary Arch finished ninth to lead the third-ranked Little Hawks. She said she struggled at the Pleasant Valley meet last Saturday but felt stronger this time out.
“I got out kind of fast but not too fast,” she said. “I wanted to just stick with Bailey Nock the whole time.”
City senior Emily Bywater was 10th, Anna Lindower 12th, Esti Brady 19th and Bridget Brown 20th.
“I thought we competed really well today,” Mittman said. “Mary had a great race, but apparently faded a little at the end. Emily had a great race. I can’t say enough about her hard work. She’s just a model of a cross-country runner. She just keeps getting better every year.
Our fourth and fifth girls ran better today. I think we’ve made progress since Pleasant Valley (last Saturday). Esti is a freshman, and she took a huge step forward today.”
Cedar Rapids Invitational Girls Cross Country
Seminole Valley park, Cedar Rapids
Team results – 1. Iowa City West 55; 2. Iowa City High 65; 3. Pleasant Valley 123; 4. Bettendorf 128; 5. Linn-Mar 137; 6. Muscatine 143; 7. North Scott 207; 8. Dubuque Wahlert 209; 9. Ames 217; 10. C.R. Prairie 251; 11. C.R. Kennedy 261; 12. Marion 328; 13. Mount Vernon-Lisbon 335; 14. C.R. Xavier 345; 15. C.R. Jefferson 481; 16. Waterloo West 498; 17. Davenport West 513; 18. Davenport Central 545; C.R. Washington did not field a full
Individual Results – 1. Gabby Skopec (ICW) 18:56.81; 2. Hannah Frazee (CRP) 19:15.66; 3. Brina Kraft (Mus) 19:19.74; 4. Ally Gallagher (Bet) 19:20.69; 5. Reagan Gorman (CRW) 19:28.71; 6. Bailey Nock (ICW) 19:29.91; 7. Trinity Borland (Bet) 19:31.26; 8. Claire Ronnebaum (ICW) 19:33.67; 9. Mary Arch (ICH) 19:36.89; 10. Emily Bywater (ICH) 19:41.40.
West High (55) – 1. G. Skopec 18:56.81; 6. Nock 19:29.91; 8. Ronnebaum 19:33.67; 17. Jessie Skopec 20:1l.14; 27. Deniz Ince 20:38.57; 34. Olivia Moore 20:52.22; 57. Chloe Holt 21:36.65.
City (65) – 9. Arch 19:36.89; 10. Bywater 19:41.40; 12. Anna Lindower 19:53.51; 19. Esti Brady 20:16.65; 20. Bridget Brown 20:19.08; 29. Annie Rummelhart 20:43.56; 31. Kinsee Brands 20:47.58.