Central women fourth at Grinnell cross country meet

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GRINNELL — Running in its second meet in as many weeks, the Central College women’s cross country team was fourth at the Les Duke Invitational hosted by Grinnell College Saturday morning.

            The Dutch had 106 points in its fourth-place performance. Truman State University (Mo.) was the team champion. Kat Stai of Coe College was the individual winner of the 6,000-meter race in a time of 23 minutes, 37.6 seconds.

            Mari Stein (freshman, Okoboji) paced Central with her 14th-place finish, crossing the line in 24:51.9 in her first collegiate 6K.

            “I was really proud of Mari today,” coach Joe Dunham said. “She progressed through the race very nicely and stayed aggressive. She can improve a lot but it was a great first step for her.”

            Two spots behind Stein, Randi Kruiswyk (sophomore, Dunlap, Ill.) took 16th in 24:53.7.

            Senior Lauren Moll (Faribault, Minn.) was 21st in 25:25.6. Freshmen Lauren Coon (Oskaloosa) and Brenna Thomson (Baxter) also scored in Central’s top-five. Coon was 24th (25:34.0) and Thomson was 31st (26:18.2)

            Rounding out Central’s top-seven runners, Lauren Miller (freshman, Dubuque) was 34th (26:47.8) and Ashley Meldrum (senior, Cambridge, Ballard HS) was 41st (27:26.3)

            “I think our women got out a little fast and they paid for it later in the race,” Dunham said. “We’re still really pleased with the effort.”

            The Dutch will be off for the next two weekends with their next competition scheduled for October 5 at the Dan Huston Invitational in Waverly hosted by Wartburg College.

            “I’m excited about the next few weeks of training,” Dunham said. “It’s clear after this race we know we have a lot of work to do. I believe we’re going to see some great things over the next four to six weeks.”