FORT DODGE — PCM cross country coach Eric Karr knows his top runner Paige Steenhoek can do better on the state’s biggest stage.
He now puts it on himself to get her there.
Steenhoek returned to the Iowa High School Cross Country Championships on Oct. 31 and placed 52nd in the Class 2A girls’ 5K race.
Freshman Tiffani Koonce joined Steenhoek at Lakeside Golf Course and placed 95th.
“I need to look at training with Paige. I need to look at what I did last year and what I did this year and see how we can move her forward,” Karr said. “We know we can do better.”
Steenhoek was 44th at state last season in her first prep year. The 52nd-place finish in 2020 came with a time of 21 minutes, 43.2 seconds.
The final medalist in the 2A girls’ race finished with a time of 20:27.4.
“I don’t know if it was better than last year, but it felt better than last year,” Steenhoek said. “I saw girls that I recognized during the race so that’s always fun to me to be able to run with them. It was a good race.”
Koonce admitted to running a slower time than she wanted. But she now has the experience of running on the state’s biggest stage to learn from for future years.
Koonce placed 95th overall with a time of 22:39.4.
“I tried hard. I think I need to try to get out as fast as I can to make things easier,” Koonce said. “I enjoyed the experience. It’s so loud here. It was cool.”
Karr said Koonce did get boxed in at the start of the race. That may have factored into her slower time.
“It’s the experience for her. This isn’t a normal meet. You are with a group the entire time,” Karr said. “She absolutely got boxed in at the start. But you take that and learn for next year.”
Top-ranked freshman Danielle Hostetler of Mid-Prairie won the girls’ race one year after older sister Marie Hostetler capped her historic career with a state title.
Danielle’s winning time in 2020 was clocked at 19:09.8.
Second-ranked Addison Parrott of Danville/New London was the runner-up in 19:31.3
Top-ranked Mid-Prairie defended its team title with 45 points. Third-ranked Tipton was second with 107 and second-ranked Williamsburg finished third with 119. Williamsburg was the runner-up in 2019.
Mid-Prairie and Williamsburg were both at the PCM state qualifier last week.
So was Hostetler and Parrott.