WEBSTER CITY — Bryce Gidel knew there were some who felt her reign as queen of the North Central Conference was over.
But the Humboldt senior never doubted herself.
Gidel became the first-ever cross country runner to capture four NCC individual titles here Tuesday night, turning in a course-record time of 19:05 to complete the feat.
The University of Iowa commit shattered her own record previously set at 19:39 in 2017 at the Webster City Links. Gidel also ended a string of runner-up finishes to Iowa Falls-Alden’s Ellie Meyer this year, a run that snapped her own streak of regular season race wins.
“Having already been beaten by Ellie, I knew it was going to be very tough, but I was ready for it,” Gidel said. “It is so special to end my NCC run with No. 4, but the season is not over yet.”
Meyer finished in 19:15, with Algona’s Carley Mullins placing third in 21:16.
“The last quarter-mile felt awesome,” Gidel said. “I tried to run my race right on Ellie’s shoulder to set myself up for a good finish. Ellie is a very talented runner and I knew she was going to put up a good fight.
“I just tried to stay patient and relaxed, and then with around 800 meters to go, I knew it was now-or-never.”
Held every year since 1978, three other girls had previously won a trio of titles in Eagle Grove’s Tiffany Christensen, Sarah Stevens and Jill Gazaway. In a trend of three, this also marked the third consecutive year Gidel has bested a runner from Iowa Falls-Alden after having previously topped Aubrie Fisher.
Humboldt now owns seven individual NCC titles thanks to Gidel’s four. Maddie Kampen, Sarah Sandblom and Mindy Hendrickson have also previously captured crowns.
In the overall team race, Iowa Falls-Alden got the better of the Wildcats, ending their six-year run as champions. St. Edmond finished second followed by Algona, Humboldt, Webster City, Clear Lake, Clarion-Goldfield/Dows and Hampton-Dumont.
Allison Hoag, a sophomore, was 12th for the Wildcats with senior Kirstyn Beaman finishing 14th and 10th-grader Grace Smith 18th.
Joining Mullins in the Top-10 for the Bulldogs was Moriah Knapp, as she finished sixth and Brooklyn Helmers, as she was eighth. Both are freshmen, with Mullins being a junior.
Webster City’s Kaelyn Butz placed 11th and Jacie Crutcher was 15th. For the Cowgirls, Raven Kinnetz finished 17th overall.