Kaster wasn’t the only one excited about the girls race. Golden was joyous as he bounded toward his group of runners, giving each a happy hug.
“They ran awesome,” he said. “It was fantastic. If all of them didn’t PR today ... they had to. Kate was icing on the cake. She worked so hard. She earned it.”
Senior Emily Bradley was the second River Queen across the finish line, placing 39th in 17:45. Senior Griffin Rasche took 43rd (18:06), sophomore Lily Gabel was 45th (18:24), freshman Amber Buer was 50th (18:53) and freshman Samantha Wohlstadter was 56th (19:23).
Pleasant Valley won the team title with 20 points. McKenzie Yanek led a 1-2-3-4 finish for the Spartans, crossing the line in 14:04, 53 seconds ahead of teammate Maddie Reynolds. Bettendorf (49) was second and Dubuque Senior also advanced to state with 85. Clinton scored 183 points and took sixth in the nine-team field.
The Clinton boys placed ninth with 233 points, but Golden said they performed better than the previous week in the MAC meet.
“It was an improvement from last week, and that was key,” he said. “We got a whole lot closer to the teams in front of us.”
Jonathan Facio led the River Kings, placing 37th in 18:09.
“I (set a PR) by about 19 seconds,” Facio said. “It was a pretty fast meet, and everybody was super competitive.”
Facio, a sophomore in his first year of cross country, said this season served as a positive introduction to the sport.
“This year gives me a mark to beat, a mark to improve from, and that’s what I hope to do,” he said.
Jace Houzenga (18:28) placed 44th for Clinton, Noah Buikema (18:50) was 47th, Todd Broadrick (19:17) was 52nd and Ryan O’Day (19:18) was 53rd. The River Kings ran without sophomore Michael Peters, their No. 2 or 3 runner most of the season, and Andre Dunlap, their top runner last week in the MAC varsity race. Both were ill.
“Jace ran a great race,” Golden said. “Todd and Ryan kind of fell off in the second mile and pushed hard the third mile.”
Putting all five of its scorers in the top eight, Pleasant Valley won the team title with 29 points. Mark Fairley (16:03) was the individual champion and led Dubuque Senior to the runner-up spot, while Bettendorf captured third place with 82.