It’s a short turnaround for our area Little Hawkeye Conference cross country teams, who will all be included in the field at today’s Grinnell Invitational. Pella Christian has both squads in action for the second time this season as well, and Eagles’ head coach Jocelyn Meinders says a pair of runners who are providing her with a lot of excitement early on are a pair of sophomore girls – Marina Shannon and Demaris Worthington.
“Marina was injured last year and ended up coming out after sitting out three weeks of the season and just did phenomenal at the end of the season. [She was] 30th at Districts as a freshman, and this year Marina and Demaris both have been running with the guys – and pushing the guys, actually; so they really get out there and push everyone,” said Meinders. “They’ve been working so hard. Demaris is working hard to run with Marina, and I’m really excited to see how they do and how they push each other to succeed, and where their season goes.”
Shannon was the top finisher for the Pella Christian girls at the Central Dutch Invitational, but Worthington was only nine spots behind.
Pella High sends their squads onto the course following fourth and fifth-place team finished by the boys and girls teams, respectively, over the weekend; and the Dutch will be looking to put their experience to work at Grinnell this afternoon. Pella High head coach Doug Cutler says his seniors – particularly the boys – represent a key shift in thinking for the program.
“The senior boys – this is the biggest group of senior boys we’ve ever had – it’s a group who, kind of uniquely [for] all of them, cross country is kind of their first love,” said Cutler. “We’ve always had seniors who also – maybe soccer was their first love and they use cross country for getting in shape and really enjoy it during season, but they have their athletic talents as well – this group has really embraced cross country from the beginning. I think it really is their main passion, and so that makes it very special.”
Fellow league school Knoxville and nearby PCM also add their name to the list of competing teams at today’s Grinnell Invitational, which will begin at 5:00 at Ahrens Park in Grinnell.