Both the Fort Dodge and St. Edmond cross country teams saw first-hand what it takes to be an elite team in the state.
No. 2 (Class 4A) Ames held off third-ranked Urbandale to claim team honors at the Fort Dodge Invitational Thursday, with No. 7 Waukee, ninth-rated Roosevelt, No. 10 Johnston and 13th-ranked Ankeny Centennial completing a stacked top-six.
The Dodgers were 13th overall, one spot ahead of the Gaels. Webster City finished 12th.
Jordan Kleve won individual honors, as the Johnston senior clocked a time of 14:37 to best Megan Schott from Roosevelt. The two are ranked fifth and seventh in the state.
"Honestly, this was one of the toughest meets in the state," FDSH head coach Tim Hanson said. "We knew that going in, but we just told the girls to remain confident in what we are doing which is building for the future.
"We are young and we are going to go through growing pains, but we just have to remain focused on the future."
Madison Bodholdt, a senior, led the Dodgers with a 67th place showing in 17:45. Katarina Olson was 75th, followed by Becca Sunken in 79th, Anna Taylor in 84th and Megan Nebel 87th.
"Madison had a nice run," Hanson said. "Her time was right around where it has been, so that was good to see."
For the Gaels, Kara Salinas had the top showing in 76th at 18:14. Leah Cosgrove was 78th, Jaci Taylor 82nd, Madi Reel 83rd and Joeli Koenig 90th.
"Like the boys, this was a difficult challenge for our girls," SEHS head coach Mike Szalat said. "We just have to keep working on improving our teams and get prepared for next week and districts."
The Dodgers will run next Thursday in Ames at the CIC Invitational, while St. Edmond competes Tuesday at the NCC in Eagle Grove.
Webster City was led by Courtney Biere, who finished 61st in 17;26.