Union has been unable to host their own meet since 2015 due to weather each year, but on Thursday they took advantage of sunny skies to bring teams to La Porte City.

“It’s good to be at home on a great night to run,” Union coach Justin Parson. “We ran hard overall and are trending in the right direction.”

Union senior Ellie Rathe captured her second top finish of the season with a time of 18:35, more than 90 seconds over the runner-up. Sophomore Lauren Youngblut finished fourth with a time of 21:05, freshman Amilia Condon sixth with a time of 21:42, freshman Lily Lorenzen 10th with a time of 22:50 and sophomore Sydney Anton 18th with a time of 24:13. The Knights captured first as a team.

“We felt like we’d have a chance to position ourselves well as a team today and I think a lot of people are happy with their runs,” Parson said. “We can’t let today make us complacent. Our top three are strong, while our four and five runners are working hard and pushing themselves. We’ll focus on shortening that gap between them.”

VS senior Charlee Johnson led the way for the Vikettes in 12th with a time of 23:41. Freshman Olivia Primrose finished 15th with a time of 23:55, followed by junior Molly Haisman in 17th with a time of 24:09, sophomore Kailey Kerkman 23rd with a time of 25:11, and senior Bailey Weeks in 41st with a time of 28:41 as VS finished fifth.

“The girls ran a great race with Charlee and Livi leading the pack,” VS coach Jeff Mangold said. “It is a tough week for them with four meets in eight days, so we are trying to pace ourselves.”

The VS boys captured the team title as junior Elijah finished runner-up with a time of 18:29. Junior Merritt Bodeker came in sixth with a time of 19:33, followed by junior Ian Allsup in seventh with a time of 19:45, sophomore Aldin Swanson in 10th with a time of 20:09 and freshman Zach Klopping 11th with a time of 20:13.

“Our boys needed a confidence boost and we had a lot of PRs today,” Mangold said. “Elijah ran his best race of the year. We’ve been really trying to push that first mile and stay in front of the pack. All the guys had a good kick, and I was really impressed with how the team came together today.”

The Union boys finished fifth as a team as sophomore Sam Fehl finished 12th with a time of 20:13 and freshman Kengo Uchiyama-Hansen in 14th with a time of 20:30. Sophomore Wyatt Hoy finished 23rd with a time of 21:28, followed by sophomore Austin Martin in 30th with a time of 22:09 and sophomore Tim Griswold in 31st with a time of 22:17.

“We’ve been battling some injuries, but what I saw today was a step in the right direction,” Parson said. “Austin Martin stood out to me as running a lot better than he did earlier this season. Tonight, I’m really pleased with what our boys are doing in terms of working hard and making progress.”

Both programs will run at Starmont on Tuesday alongside Center Point-Urbana.

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