Rams gear up for HOIC meet in Saydel


Sports Editor



SAYDEL – The Greene County cross country teams will face a stiff test at the Heart of Iowa Conference meet Monday, Oct. 10 in Saydel. 

The Ram girls must compete against second-ranked Gilbert (3A) and fifth-ranked CMB (3A). While North Polk was ranked at one point in the season and PCM sits just outside the rankings. 

Gilbert’s Carly Rahn is the highest ranked HOIC runner, as the junior comes in at 14th. Her teammate, Maggie Pollard, is ranked 25th. 

Greene County senior Olivia Hansen enters her final conference meet with two seventh place finishes this fall and an average time of 22:02.6. She came in 17th at least year’s HOIC meet and most recently captured a 15th place finish at the Perry Invite Sept. 30. 

Freshman Bailey Cunningham has helped form a formidable one-two punch for the Rams, as she ran to a team-best sixth overall (22:04.9) at the Roland-Story Invite Sept. 22. She most recently came in 24th at the Perry Invite and averages a time of 23:02.3. 

Ashlee Harmeyer is fresh off her personal best time of 23:50.7 at the Perry Invite. 

“Gilbert and North Polk will be the two teams that both Olivia and Bailey are going to need to try to break-up,” Greene County head coach Kelly Simpson said. “Olivia will need to get a good, clean start and Bailey will need to tuck right behind her for the first one to two kilometers.  After that, both could be in a position to medal.”  

Nevada’s Malachi Hornbuckle is the HOIC’s top boy runner, ranked 13th in Class 3A. Gilbert’s Jason Taylor is the only other runner ranked in the top 25, at 24th overall. 

As a team, Gilbert is ranked fifth in Class 3A while South Hamilton is slotted in the fourth position in Class 2A. 

The Saydel course will present plenty of challenges for the Ram runners, especially since the terrain has undergone some recent renovations. The Rams are familiar with the location, but are skeptical to how it will run. 

“Saydel is run on the high school campus and has rolling inclines that zig-zag back-n-forth in front of the school,” Simpson said. “It can run fast, but will see what the adjustments do to the times.”

There won’t be any easy outcomes in a loaded field, the coach said. 

“It’s a tough conference, both girls and boys,” Simpson said. “A top 20 finish will still be a good finish.”

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