TARKIO, Mo.— The North-West Nodaway boys and Platte Valley’s Andrea Riley raced up and down the Tarkio Golf Club in the annual Tarkio Indian Run Monday evening. The Rockets’ Tyler Blay finished first in the boys’ race, while Riley finished sixth in the girls’ race.
“She ran great today, she’s doing a good job of running her pace,” Platte Valley coach Julie McConkey said. “She’s figuring out how to run a race that fits her the best.”
The event has taken place in recent years down the street from the golf course next to the football stadium. The course this year forced runners to manage the hills that makeup the course. For Riley, the run reminded her of where she practices each day.
“I liked it better than last year because I really try to strive on hills,” Riley said. “A lot of places around Barnard are hilly and that’s what we practice on, so I feel like it was easier for me this year.”
Platte Valley came into the season short-handed with just two girls on the team this season, and with one injured, it has been up to Riley to use a new approach when it comes to practice.
“I think that she has risen to the challenge of running against herself for time, especially with her teammate not being able to run,” McConkey said. “She has instead been pushing herself and I think that speaks a lot to her character and work ethic.”
Riley finished with a time of 24.43, just 15 seconds behind the fifth-place finisher and two minutes and 38 seconds behind first place finisher.
“I’m really happy with it, it’s about where I thought I would end up,” Riley said. “I hung around eighth for most of it, but I passed some people through the back of it and really pushed through the hills. I definitely feel like I’ve worked hard on pushing the last half of the race more and I’ve become mentally stronger from having that experience.”
The best run of the day belonged to West Nodaway’s Tyler Blay. Blay finished first in the boys’ race with a time of 17.06. The senior finished 47 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. Blay said the gap may have actually hurt his time.
“I ran alone from the start, so it was kind of tough,” Blay said. “It’s just that winning by almost a minute, you’re running alone most of the time and you don’t have anyone to really push you.”
Though the golf course provided a more scenic view, Blay said he missed running at the old location.
“I liked the old course way better,” Blay said. “I think it was way faster, my hope was to run a sub-16 at the original course — not this one, it’s a bit hilly.”
Tyler wasn’t the only Blay to have a good day in Tarkio. Freshman Riley Blay finished fifth at the Indian Run. The younger Blay showed his confidence after finishing the race with a time of 18.25.
“It’s just pretty much running until you get to districts and states where all the best runners will be,” Riley Blay said. “It’s fairly simple, I’ve been doing it since junior high. Just get out hard, pace yourself and then press the last mile.”
Senior Duke Ingraham said he is still working his way back into shape after what has been a difficult summer. Ingraham said he spent most of the summer working and that he’s just now getting to where he feels normal.
“Because of the extended break, the first thing on my mind was getting some sort of job to help pay for college,” Ingraham said. “I kind of pushed cross country back a bit and I didn’t realize it until it was too late, so it’s been a bit hard.”
Ingraham finished seventh in the race with a time of 18.54.
“He came into practice in probably the worst shape I’ve ever seen him in, but today was the best I’ve seen from him this year,” Rockets assistant coach Bill Blay said.
Preston Bateman gave the Rockets four finishers in the top 15 with his 13th- place finish. Bateman finished with a time of 21.19. The final of the West Nodaway runners was Keevin Maupin, who finished the race in 25.16.
“That was a tricky course, it was difficult with a lot of hills,” Bill Blay said. “They all ran really well, I’m proud of them all. Keevin threw up at the top of the hill. He bent over, threw up, wiped his mouth and kept running. I said that’s what cross country is about, son, let 'er go and keep rollin'.”