MASON CITY — After a second-place finish in last year’s Class 1A state meet, Rockford’s Sheridan LaCoste came into this season more driven than ever the reach her goals in her final season of prep cross country.

While it’s been a season of competing against some tough competition in North Iowa, LaCoste was able to tick off one of those goals Thursday afternoon at the Top of Iowa Conference meet when she brought home an individual title in the girls’ race. She had to hold off Northwood-Kensett’s Lindsey Davidson, who placed second, to do so.

“This year I thought it was going to be me, Lindsey and McKenna (Weaver) all the way to the finish like it was the other races, but I’m glad it was just me and Lindsey because I know what she can do,” LaCoste said. “Some people gut it out during districts, state and conference, and I’m glad the result today was pretty good.”

The race between LaCoste and Davidson was a good one.

Davidson, a sophomore, kept on the heels of LaCoste for most of the 5-kilometer course as the two had pulled well out in front of the chase pack.

Coming down the final 100 meters, it was LaCoste who was able to hold on for her first conference title. LaCoste won the race in 20 minutes, 48 seconds, while Davidson crossed line in 20:52.1.

When the race was completed, each were appreciative of the competition they’ve given each other all year long.

“Knowing that our conference is tough and to come out on top, I know that I can do districts and I can do state,” LaCoste said. “My body is ready, I just have to prepare my mental side of it.’

Davidson, who has been right there with LaCoste, West Fork’s McKenna Weaver, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura’s Abby Christians and St. Ansgar’s Addy Carlson all season, the second-place showing in the conference meet was the result of a season full of hard work.

“That was my main goal just to stick with them and see how long I could go and just to push myself, and I think it paid off,” Davidson said. “It’s a lot of work and it was nice to have the reward of finishing like I did.”

The duo now turns its attention to next Thursday’s Class 1A state-qualifying meet at Eagle Grove.

Christians placed third in 21:15.1, Weaver was fourth in 21:33.2, and Nashua-Plainfield’s Aubrey Eick rounded out the top five in 21:37.1.

In the boys’ race, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura junior Reece Smith was gunning for his second straight conference title. Unfortunately for him, North Union senior Riley Bauer was too much to handle on Thursday as Bauer won the conference title in 16:27.5.

Smith, who was disappointed in his performance following the race, was runner-up in 16:48.

“He’s a fast kid so you definitely have to run as fast as you can with him,” Smith said. “Unfortunately I didn’t have enough to but him, but it’s whatever.”

Smith was leading for the first portion of the race before being taken over by Bauer.

For Smith, who was second in Class 2A last year, the race serves as a lesson with the state-qualifying meet coming up next Thursday at Dike-New Hartford.

“It’s definitely a big motivator,” he said. “I just didn’t have it today and hopefully that’ll be different on Thursday and then Saturday (at state).”

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