Linn-Mar Sweeps Team Titles at MVC Cross-Country "Super" Meet

By Jeff Linder, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Josh Evans hasn't seen a barber since June.

"Two weeks from tomorrow," he promised. "The day after the district meet."

Long-locked or clean-shaven, Evans is elite. As long as he's reasonably healthy. And there's your catch.

Evans pulled away to win the boys' individual crown, and Linn-Mar swept the team championships at the Mississippi Valley Conference cross country "Super" meet Thursday afternoon at the Dubuque Soccer Complex.

The girls scored 52 points behind the 2-4 finish of Amber Decker and Maddie Saville, outrunning Iowa City West (69) and Cedar Rapids Kennedy (84).

Evans' title paced the boys to a 42-point tally. Cedar Rapids Prairie was second with 58, followed by Cedar Falls (72).

"I knew (Prairie) was a serious threat," Evans said. "I love those guys; they're good competition."

Evans has been slowed this fall — not by his full head of mane, but rather a balky Achilles tendon. Even so, he pulled away in the back half of the race to win it in 15:19. Prairie's Mitch Pritts was next, in 15:35.

"I'm exhausted," Evans said. "One good thing, I haven't had to pound it out every workout. And I still have plenty of speed."

Still ...

"Tomorrow's going to be an easy day," he vowed.

Linn-Mar and Prairie had four boys apiece in the top 10. The fifth runner was the difference: Linn-Mar's No. 5 was 21st, compared to 39th for the Hawks.

Tanner Rathje (third), Michael Mather (seventh) and Daniel Murphy (10th) backed up Evans. Prairie's Jake Moore, Isaiah Vlasek and Tysen Vandraska ran 4-5-8.

West had the top girls' runner in Ashlynn Yokom; her 14:19 effort was 12 seconds ahead of Decker. But the Lions had the top team, with five in the top 20.

"It's been kind of a rough season, but it seems the end of the season is always our best," said Decker, who passed Cedar Rapids Washington's Shannon Gorman at the tape.

"I've been waiting for that kick all year."

Yokom ran to the front immediately and wasn't threatened.

"Mentally, I just keep pushing myself, thinking somebody is catching up to me," she said. "It wasn't my best time. There were a lot of tight curves."
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