MASON CITY - The Iowa Central cross country program split their squad, sending runners to the Trent Smith Invitational here Friday and the Seminole Valley Stampede in Cedar Rapids on Saturday.
The Triton women topped NIACC and Indian Hills for the team title, with the Iowa Central men finishing second.
"We don't always like splitting our squad up, but this is one of those opportunities that gives our next tier of athletes the opportunity to step up and take the spotlight," Iowa Central Director of Cross Country Dee Brown said. "We told them that we are at the point in the season that we are auditioning. Maybe they are auditioning for a varsity spot at the national meet but more than likely, they are auditioning for a roster spot or a scholarship after Iowa Central.
"Other coaches are watching our results and waiting to see what we produce. They should approach this competition like it is a job interview or exam day in cross country class. These athletes have been preparing all week and all season for this test. We know they have studied and done their homework so let's see what they have learned"
Josie Stackis and Shanunti Longfellow were the top finishers for the women while Jordan Hustak and Darius Brown led the men's team.
"It is fun to see who is going to rise to the challenge," Brown said. "We are happy to say it was a very productive meet for us. Even though it was warm and windy, it wasn't about the times, it was how they competed against our rival Region XI schools. We will compete against all of these same athletes again at the Region XI Championships in Fort Dodge. We sat our frontrunners (Friday) and this group performed admirably against some of the top ranked teams in Division I and Division II of the NJCAA."