CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The Mount Mercy men's and women's cross country teams both opened the season with runner-up finishes at the 24th Annual Mustang Gallop on Friday night at Seminole Valley Park.
Each squad had three top-10 finishers. The women were led by the junior duo of Alexa Zamora and Kathryn Vander Poel, who finished at the same time (15:50) to land them in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Freshman McKenna Johnson was the third Mustang in the top 10, placing eighth in 15:56.
Mount Mercy's other four finishers included Taylor Skala (14th/16:21), Vanessa Cortes (15th/16:27), Kennidee Devilbiss (22nd/16:43) and Jaelynn Folkers (24th/16:46). The Mustangs finished second with 46 points, just five back of team champion Cornell (41 points). Dubuque was third with 98 points.
For the second year in a row, the Cornell men gave the Rams a sweep of the team titles, running away with the championship with 23 points. They had the top four runners and finished 16 points better than the Mustangs (39 points). James Lindstrom paced the Mustangs with a time of 15:53, which was fifth-best on the men's side.
Colton Forster was just three seconds behind (15:56) for a sixth-place finish and Jacob Blackmon grabbed ninth place with a time of 16:08. Aaron Golding (12th/16:14), Cameron Steffens (13th/16:18), Michael Marshall (16th/16:29) and Jacob Herndon (53rd/18:49) rounded out the top seven for Mount Mercy. Coming in third and 54 points behind the Mustangs, was Coe with 93 points.
Mount Mercy and Coe, which had competed annually in the Five Seasons Duel, couldn't work the meet into their schedules this fall. The Mustangs maintained their grip on the yearly prize, the Coe-Stang Trophy, by virtue of combined men's and women's results for the two teams (Mount Mercy 85 points, Coe 254). It's the fifth consecutive season the trophy remains with Mount Mercy.
The Mustangs are back in action on Saturday, Sept. 16, when they travel to Joplin, Mo., for the Missouri Southern Stampede at the Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course. The women's race starts at 8:00 a.m. with the men to follow at 9:00 a.m.