By Becky Walz,
After missing out on a trip to state last season, the Decorah girls’ cross country team will likely rely on a mix of veterans and young athletes to get back in the hunt for a state title.
Pushing the girls toward the finish line is Cristy Nimrod for her 21st season, along with assistant coaches Jeff Wettach and Sarah Nowack.
On the outside
Decorah had some experience back on the courses for the 2021 season, including two-time state individual qualifier Rebecca Anderson, along with veteran state runners Madison Tollefson and Abby Halverson.
At the Northeast Iowa Conference meet, the Vikes raced hard with one goal in mind — to win the title; however, it wasn’t meant to be as Decorah finished third with 67 points behind Waverly-Shell Rock and Crestwood. Three Vikings earned all-conference honors including Anderson, Danielle Losen and Annalise Skrade by finishing in the top 15.
For the first time in 15 years, the Vikings were shutout of the state bid a week later at the state-qualifying meet. Anderson earned her third consecutive trip to state in 20:37.30, in 12th place. At state, she finished her junior season 34th overall in 20:11.06.
Auditioning for a spot
The cupboard isn’t completely bare for Coach Nimrod. She has Anderson back, along with several other top competitors ready to fill the shoes.
Danielle Losen finished seventh at the NEIC meet on the heels of Anderson with a time of 21:01.50. Annalise Skrade, a senior, had a great junior season. She placed 11th in 21:25.20, at the conference meet. Brynn Storhoff crossed the finish line in 22:16.40 to take 21st at the NEIC race, while Kathryn Kelley was 22nd in 22:16.70. McKenzie Riley also ran the varsity NEIC race, closing out the contest in 24th in 22:25.00.
Others returning with a letter include Annika Brynsaas, Amy Jensen, Grace Neal, Madison Tollefson, Grace Brynsaas, Natalie Goodner, Lily Sandhorst, Grace Blikre, Kamryn Steines, Elsa Johnson and Mairi Sessions.