The 2012 Iowa cross country season came to an end on Saturday with the state meet at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge, and for the first time since 2009, Newton runners were in the fold.
Freshmen Grace Coen and Cooper McDermott represented the Cardinals, capping off excellent seasons by taking 25th and 71st, respectively.
Coen finished in 14 minutes and 46 seconds, improving her personal best by 23 seconds. She ran the first mile of the 2.5-mile race in 5:38 and her time was 11:49 at the two-mile mark.
“She had an outstanding race,” Newton girls coach Mike Castings said. “She got out there and ran a real nice race. She controlled her run very well. She had a quick pace at the mile and two-mile and then chilled for a little while.”
Only three other freshmen finished ahead of Coen in the field of 110, including the winner — Linn-Marr’s Stephanie Jenks — who finished in 13:42. It was the fourth-best time in state history.
“When you go up there, there are no weak runners,” Castings said. “The level of competition has gone through the roof.”
Coen — who was one of only five individual qualifiers — practiced with McDermott and several of the Cardinals’ boys runners this past week to help her train with runners closer to her pace. She was the first Newton girl to compete at state since Casey McDermott in 2007 (placed 17th).
She still has three cross country seasons left, giving her plenty of time to make her way up the state leaderboard.
“Grace has got a lot of growing to do,” Castings said. “I think we can only expect better and better things. She’s already looking forward to track. We only have good things to look forward to in her future.”
On the boys’ side, McDermott also ran a personal-best of 16:32 while placing 71st — dropping eight seconds off his previous best. He ran his first mile of the 3.1-mile race in 5:05, the second mile in 5:28 and the final 1.1 miles in an even six minutes.
Dowling Catholic senior Jason Thomas topped the field of 116 in a winning time of 15:02.