TROY MILLS — Jackie Kokjohn faced stiff competition ahead of the pack at Thursday's Tri-Rivers Conference cross country meet. The senior Prince of Peace runner found herself in fourth place midway through the 4-kilometer race, according to Irish coach Owen Howard. Kokjohn found herself in a dogfight with Calamus-Wheatland's Megan Slattery and North Linn's Hanna Adams while trailing the Lynx's Nicole Miller.
"They were pretty much neck-and-neck for fourth place," Howard said. "Then, probably around the mile marker, they picked it up and started catching the leader."
The race was so tight, Howard said, that after Kokjohn and Slattery caught up to Miller, the leader and runner-up traded places several times. Kokjohn had the lead with 600 meters to go in the race.
But, at the 250-meter mark, Miller regained it, edging Prince of Peace's lone girls runner by one second — 15 minutes, 33 seconds to Kokjohn's 15:34. Slattery was third at 15:43, helping the Warriors to a second-place team finish.
"Jackie ran a pretty good race," Howard said. "She ended up gaining on the No. 1 girl and actually passing her, but she wound up getting re-passed again at the end. ...
"She was pretty satisfied. Obviously she would've liked to get first, but she ran a good race."
While Kokjohn earned silver in the girls race, the Prince of Peace boys followed suit with a second-place finish as a team. Devin Bly led all Irish boys with a fifth-best 19:00 time in the 5-kilometer race. Marquette Catholic's Lucas Schmidt placed first at 17:49, the top finisher for the first-place Mohawks. Both Marquette and Prince of Peace are newcomers to the Tri-Rivers, joining when the Big East Conference disbanded.
"Devin ran out real strong," Howard said. Joining Bly with top-20 finishes were brother Dermot Bly (eighth), Jacob Jankowski (12th), Seth Moeller (17th) and Caleb Kitteringham (19th). Howard added both the boys and girls races were good indicators for what both groups will work on leading up to Thursday's district race.