PERU – In what is usually one of the hottest and muggiest meets of their year, it was a different scenario when the Peru State women’s cross country team opened their season Friday night.
The Bobcats participated in the Bearcat Invite hosted by Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo., and ran in much cooler temperatures than they had over the last five years.
While competing against one of the better NCAA DII teams and the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) champions from last year, the Bobcats finished third in the three-team meet.
Heart champion MidAmerica Nazarene topped the hosts scoring just 24 points and capturing the top two places. Northwest Missouri was second with 32 points while Peru State was third with 85 points.
Junior Julia Zurek (Louisville) was Peru State’s top runner as she finished 19th overall (15th for scoring purposes) in a time of 24:33.22. Jacey Sutton (Wahoo) was 21st (16th) and ran a 26:42.50 in her first collegiate meet.
The Wattier twins, both freshmen from Malcolm, also running in their first collegiate meet. Aubrey finished 22nd while Brealynn was 23rd (17th and 18th in scoring) with times of 27:07.85 and 27:36.37. The fifth scoring runner was another freshman, Alyssa Brink (Oakland, Iowa), who was 24th (19th) in a time of 28:29.66.
Others running for the Bobcats were: Marissa Wingert (Panama, Iowa) – 25th/20th – 28:53:32, Hailee Lynn(Malcolm) – 26th/21st – 29:16.49, Sydney Stevelinck (Lyons, Colo.) – 27th – 30:07.92, Makalah Scheele – 28th– 31:53.81, Hailey Bouwens (Lincoln) – 29th – 32:27.16, Destiny Worthey (Humboldt) – 30th – 34:25.57, Caitlyn Longfellow (Auburn) – 31st – 35:05.43, and Samantha Daake (Beatrice) – 32nd – 35:15.02.
Brink, Lynn, Stevelinck, Scheele, Bouwens, and Longfellow also were running in their first college competition.
Zurek ran nearly two minutes faster than she did last year in the Bearcat meet while Wingert was 17 seconds ahead of her last year’s pace.
The Bobcats will be off for two weeks before competing in the Bronco Stampede hosted by Hastings College on Saturday, Sept. 15.