By Brodee Gillam
All Stars have to fall eventually.
After dominating the NJCAA women's cross country scene for the past two seasons, winning back-to-back championships, LCC scored 282 to finish eighth overall in the nationals in 2017.
Iowa Central CC won the NJCAA National Championship at the Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Nov. 11. Iowa Central CC scored 52 points.
The Stars' top runner was sophomore Ashley Lindeman in the 5K race. She finished 11th with a time of 18:32 and honorable mention All-American honors.
LCC Head Coach Jim Robinson said he was proud of how the race went despite the eighth place finish.
"Our women ran really well, for our team, there's no question it was our best effort of the year," Robinson said. "(We) executed the strategy that we wanted (to execute) and ran hard to the finish. ... We were the top team east of the Mississippi."
Robinson said freshman Emma Fifarek had an enormous impact on the race that does not show in the results.
"Emma Fifarek played a huge role in helping our time finish well," Robinson said. "Cross country, though each person has to run their own race. … Emma was like that pacer in a bike race that pulls everyone else along.
"The fact that she did that made a huge difference in getting (sophomore) Alyssa (Mankey) and (freshman) Emma (Distelrath), in particular, further up and at a faster time than they had all season."
Freshman Kirsten McGahan has been a top runner all season and was the Stars' second finisher in the national race at 19:29, good for 48th overall.
McGahan said she was proud of her team despite the eighth-place finish and was happy to be a part of this season.
"Cross country is a long season," McGahan said. "We have been training since June and it's amazing to see the hours and miles come together. We have all fought our own individual battles this season, both mentally and physically.
"The bond this team has is undeniable and it showed in our racing."