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Klepper finishes in middle of pack at nationals

By Staff | Nov 12, 2008

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Iowa Lakes women’s and men’s cross country teams competed at the highest level for two-year colleges at the NJCAA Division 1 National Cross Country Meet.

Women’s race

In the women’s race, sophomore Candace Klepper led the Lakers, placing 119th out of 246 runners. She finished the 5K event in 21 minutes, 29 seconds.

“Candace ran a solid race and finished strong,” said Iowa Lakes coach Molly Struve. “She started in a good position and managed to stay there, or above there, for the whole race. This was her last race of her Iowa Lakes career and she ran her guts out. I am very proud of her improvements and successes over the last two years.”

Olivia Craig finished 147th in 22:20.

“Olivia had a great race and her time shows it,” said Struve. “She dropped her time by over a minute from the regional meet. Even though she was out with an injury during the middle of the season, she worked hard in practice and was able to finish the season with a great performance.”

Angela Pearson finished 236th in 27:29 and Chelsey Gjerde was 239th in 28:47.

“Angela and Chelsey both ran personal best times and stayed focused throughout the whole race,” said Struve. “Angela improved her time by 12 seconds and had a really strong last half mile.”

Iowa Central won the meet followed by Butler (Penn.) and Rend Lake (Ill.).

Men’s race

In the 8K men’s race, Bart Zimmer finished 237th out of 253 runners in 31 minutes, 37 seconds. Dane Ross finished 246th in 33:58. Mitchel Sparks finished 247th in 34:24 and Brandon Minear was 251st in 35:07.

“Dane and Mitch both had very good races.,” said Struve. “Dane ran a strong race, coming in second for the Lakers for the first time. He had a great last two miles and managed to move up a few places.

“Mitch also had a good last mile; he kept focused on staying close to Dane and was able to finish with a good time,”said Struve.

“Bart and Brandon struggled slightly at this meet. Bart had a very quick first mile and struggled staying with that pack for the rest of the race. Brandon performed well the first two miles of the race, but struggled during the last half.

“All the men are freshman, so hopefully next season they will continue to drop their times and perform better at each meet,” said Struve.