More than just a sport: Girls Cross Country is a strong community

The truth is you can always run faster; the fact is that the truth hurts. For the 2018 girls cross country team, that was the rallying cry behind a successful season.

At Bettendorf, the sport of cross country has proven to be more than just running, as a community in which every runner feels welcomed, valued, and needed has come into fruition. This strong community has led to an increase in attendance and an improvement in times.

In recent years, this community has been fostered through the experience of coach Erin Flynn and the leadership of captains Maggie Dixon and Emma Doyle.

"We have a great team atmosphere. Everyone on the team is supportive of one another. Some of my closest friends have come from cross country," Dixon said.

Prior to their 2018 campaign, the team watched Trinity Borland, their lead runner from the season before, graduate. This loss of a front runner forced everyone on the team to step up.

The team started the season with a fifth place finish at the Iowa City West Early Bird Invitational on Aug. 23. The team vowed to continue improving and after the tough meet to start the season, they caught fire, winning three of their next five meets.

A great team win came at the Solon Invitational on Sept. 17. Paced by Madison Temple’s 20:46, the varsity squad took down the favored Williamsburg High School with a score of 90 - 93.

“As a team, we kept working hard and improving throughout the entire year. I was excited because I got better every meet,” said freshman Hannah Beintema.

The team’s hard work paid off at the conference meet. The freshmen and sophomore team, paced by individual champion Sarah Defauw, finished first while the varsity squad finished second behind Pleasant Valley.

The success for the team continued at the district meet as Hannah Beintema finished 11th, Madison Temple finished 13th, and Sarah Schmidt finished 14th. Those top 15 finishes punched their ticket for the three to represent Bettendorf at the state meet on Oct. 27.

The trio found great success at the state meet, with Temple breaking the 20 minute mark and all three runners finishing in the top half of 125 runners.

As the season dwindles down, the runners will start to prepare for the off-season and look forward to next year's adventures. With nine of their top ten runners returning, the team is primed for another state run.

Favorite Cross Country Memory?

"My freshman year, there was a 3 mile square that we were supposed to run. Initially, Emma and I were not able to run the whole time. The day that we finished all 3 miles running is one of my favorite memories because it showed how perseverance pays off." - Maggie Dixon

"I had a ton of fun as the captain of the team this past year. I loved planning events. One of our best events was the alpha captain fight at Maggie's lake house to determine who the alpha captain was." - Emma Doyle

"Going up to Maggie's lake house." - Kiara Silva, Hannah Beintema, and Sarah Schmidt

"Coach Adams." - Rebecca Davis

Best advice from Coach Flynn?

"Not to eat two hours before a race. This has helped me because I always want to eat right before." - Hannah Beintema

"Coach Flynn always tells us to never save up our energy. That helps in the races. She also tells us never to eat Taco Bell." - Sarah Schmidt

"The best advice Coach Flynn has given me is to always run like there is a rabid dog chasing me." - Maggie Dixon

Who on the team is someone that you would like your son to date?

"There are so many picks for me. First, I will say Madison Temple because she is very fast and funny. Second, I would pick Emma Doyle because she is my fellow captain, and lastly I would pick one of the Bytnar twins to confuse my son." - Maggie Dixon

"I would pick Zoe Allert because she is so awesome, has a super big heart, and is nice to everyone on the team." - Kiara Silva

"Maggie Dixon. She is my sole sister and an overall very nice person." - Sarah Schmidt

"Emma Doyle. She is funny, kind, absolutely gorgeous (promising beautiful grandchildren), a great artist, always smells nice, has a lovely smile, and a protective and supportive friend. She is the perfect person." - Rebecca Davis

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