A dark day that had seen a lot of rain created a slippery environment for cross country runners in Goose Lake on Thursday afternoon. Clinton, Northeast, Camanche and Prince of Peace all brought their runners out for another early season meet.

Clinton liked what they saw. They had a quick turnaround after running on Tuesday at Tipton.

Freshman Abby Struble was the top finisher for the River Queens, clocking in at 24:00.01. She was followed closely by teammates Maritza Dondiego and Lauren Buer who were just a minute and three places behind her.

“It feels really good,” Struble said after the meet. “This my first year doing cross country and I just decided to go out because I liked the team.”

She said she got some of the first meet jitters out at Tipton on Tuesday, where the weather was also nearly 15 degrees warmer. Her experience there carried over.

“That meet was so much more muddy and it was hard to figure out how to handle that because I’m new, Struble stated.

The highest area finisher, however, was from Camanche. Junior Markee Low came in seventh in 22:27.29.

North Scott dominated the field, taking five of the top six places. Low made up ground at the end of the race on the Lancer’s Zoe Warm, but couldn’t quite catch her.

“Just push until you hit the finish line,” Low said.

Maddy Sloane finished in the top 20 for the Indians as well.

“We have a lot of strong runners this year,” Low said. “We haven’t had a lot of girls go out for cross country in past years so it’s nice to have seven on our team.”

The Irish, who are returning everyone from last year and adding some athletes, were just one short of a team Thursday with an athlete out sick. Their highest finisher was Sophie Griffin, crossing the finish line at 22:47.82. Griffin was happy with where she started the season, with the being the Irish’s first race.

“I felt that a ran really well. I felt really good while running and last year I didn’t get in the 22s until districts and I came out and ran it the first race,” Griffin said. “Last year, I could have ran faster. This year I’m trying to test myself and see how fast I can go. I want to make state.”

Ava Ruden was not far behind, finishing just 30 seconds behind Griffin in the top 15.

On the boys side, Calamus-Wheatland dominated the field, but teams put up a good showing. Camanche’s highest finisher was Dylan Darsidan, who came in fourth overall.

“The race felt good,” Darsidan said. The Indians also ran at Tipton on Tuesday. “The meet on Tuesday didn’t go very well and we knew this course was flat and a faster race, so I tried to get out fast and stay with the front pack.”

Darsidan couldn’t finish the end of last season after a hip injury and is excited to see this one start out on the right foot. He’s also surrounded by other powerful runners, like Dodson Melchiori who came in 14th or Jimmy Sbertoli and Blake Leu who finished 20th and 21st.

“I feel much better, much healthier and my legs feel a lot stronger. Just want to keep placing at meets, keep getting faster and hopefully make state,” Darsidan said. “I think this is one of the best teams we’ve had at our school in a long time. We have a good chance of competing with all teams, and we did really good tonight.”

Clinton finished behind Camanche in the team scores, with Noah Smith crossing the finish line first for the Kings in the top ten.

He also felt improvements during their quick turnaround.

“It felt good. It was a little muddy but it was flat, and a nice cool day,” Smith said. “Tipton was a lot warmer and the heat really got to you. I felt better about the race. I feel like my mental game was a lot better and I was a lot more into it.”

Meanwhile, last year’s state qualifier Payton Schnier finished 13th for the Irish. Hansi Hudson was just out of the top 15.

“The boys looked pretty strong,” Prince of Peace coach Owen Howard said. “It’s a good way to see where we are. Cal-Wheat is the top for us in conference this year, we’re trying to strive to stay with them.”

REBEL INVITE

GIRLS VARSITY TEAM SCORES

North Scott 36

Marquette 53

Clinton 94

Camanche 96

Maquoketa 114

BOYS VARSITY TEAM SCORES

Calamus-Wheatland 43

North Scott 64

Bellevue 88

Camanche 89

Clinton 138

Northeast 148

Marquette 207

Maquoketa 242