DAVENPORT — Running in unfamiliar territory was a difficult task for the Clinton cross country teams.
Neither the River Kings nor River Queens had run the course at West Lake Park before, so they didn’t know what to expect.
What they discovered was a course hillier and more difficult than they expected.
“This course — I talked to three or four other coaches in the conference — and nobody really knew what to expect,” Clinton Coach Kellen Schneeberger said. “As a runner for four years and a coach for two, I’d never been here.
“The times aren’t going to be that great considering the course and conditions, but we competed and when it came to that last 600-700 meters we fought for every place we could get.”
Clinton placed eighth in the boys race with 219 points.
Noah Smith was Clinton’s first runner across the finish line. His time of 19 minutes, 6.6 seconds was good for 31st place.
“I wish I could have gone faster,” Smith said, adding that if he ran the course again he would improve his team just based on what he learned about the course while running it.
“There were a lot of bigger hills; it was a tough course.”
Sean Hammond added a 41st-place finish in 19:37.9, then Clinton’s other five runners crossed the finish line one after the other, starting with Kyle Guilliams in 48th place in 20:15.0.
Kyle Gassman took 49th in 20:21.6 and Parker Sirna completed the scorers in 50th place in 20:28.1. Seniors Oscar Ramirez (20:29.5) and Andrew Sattler (20:41.3) nabbed the next two spots.
The River Queens also bunched up their placewinners as they claimed ninth place with 249 points.
Lauren Buer led the Queens, taking 40th in 24:10.4.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, but what can you expect? We didn’t know the course, and it was a little bit rough conditions,” Buer said. “It was definitely an interesting terrain. A little bumpy and hilly.
“I was always trying to push my pace. My time didn’t reflect what I wanted it to.”
Marlen Dondiego (25:25.3) and Keegan Cassidy (25:30.6) wre 49th and 50th, then Paige Suessmith (54th in 26:11.2) and Alexis Witherspoon (56th in 26:19.6) rounded out the scorers. Olvia Calvin (27:31.0) came in 58th, and Rylee Jensen (27:52.5) was 59th.
“We’ve been working on pushing each other and sticking together,” Buer said.
Both the Kings and Queens made Schneeberger proud.
“I’m extremely happy,” he said. “This conference is solid. Just seeing the effort from those varsity kids, both boys and girls, (was good).”
Pleasant Valley put six runners in the top 10 and ran away with the boys team title. The Spartans finished with 21 points, 80 ahead of runner-up North Scott. Konnor Sommer led a 1-2-3 finish for the Spartans with a winning time of 16:41.6. Teammates Anthony Pena and Gavin Smith were the next two runners across.
The Lancers won a tight battle for second place with 101 points, while Davenport West (109), Bettendorf (112) and Muscatine (118) rounded out the top five.
West’s Andrew Wright placed fourth, followed by Tyler Olson of Muscatine and Zach Schocker of Davenport North in the top six.
Trinity Borland of Bettendorf won the girls title in 20:19.4, with Presley Case of North Scott second in 20:26.4, Muscatine’s Moriah Morter third in 20:38.9, Abbi Lafrenz of North Scott fourth in 20:42.1 and Pleasant Valley’s Maddie Minard fifth in 20:45.9.
Pleasant Valley was the team champion with 48 points, three ahead of North Scott. Bettendorf was third with 64.