Alleman runner Mattie Kindelsperger had her sights set on this race all season, and the Pioneer senior delivered a second place finish for her school at the Western Big 6 cross country conference meet Thursday.
Kindelsperger's time of 18 minutes, 30 seconds was a personal best but was still 34 seconds back of individual winner Anna Schuering of Quincy.
The race conditions were perfect aside from a strong wind, and Kindelsperger felt great out on Saukie Golf Course in the meet hosted by Rock Island.
"I think I did pretty well today," Kindelsperger said. "I was coming back from some nerve issues that I had been fighting through, but I wasn't too bothered by it during the race. It was difficult fighting through the wind, but the course felt fast with the hills."
While Kindelsperger was happy with her individual performance, she was happier with how her teammates performed. Alleman finished with 59 points to take third, just 10 points behind Geneseo for second. Quincy came out on top with 44 points.
"I'm so proud of how everyone raced," Kindelsperger said. "We've worked so hard since the shutdown for COVID first started and put in hundreds of miles together. Everyone was so dedicated, and I wouldn't want to have any other team."
Other local medalists on the day include Kindelsperger's teammate Tess Hendrickson (9th, 19:35); a trio of Geneseo athletes in Avery Magerkurth (4th, 18:57), Esther Brown (5th, 18:59) and Jaide Flowers (8th, 19:27); and top United Township runner Maddie Miller (7th, 19:15).
It was a three-team chase at the top, as Quincy, Geneseo and Alleman finished within 15 points of each other for the team title. Moline was fourth with 123 points, United Township was sixth with 157 points and Rock Island finished seventh with 171 points.
Magerkurth and Brown were part of a pack of girls who ran together for most of the race, spanning from third to seventh place.
"Avery was leading that chase pack most of the race, while I kind of got jammed behind everyone else," Brown said. "All of our girls did a great job. We trained so well and have been there for each other. Whenever one person would do well in a race, we would always celebrate together."
Brown was just a couple seconds off of a personal best set earlier in the year in her first cross country season. She expects more personal bests to be set by the team at regionals next weekend in Morris.
"I think that we can finish top five as a team for sure," Brown said. "I hope that a lot of girls run as good then as they did today. We had a lot of personal bests, and Avery broke 19 minutes for the first time. I know that we can do outstanding things."
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