Bouwers won the district cross country meet last season with a time of 16 minutes, 32 seconds, then was a state qualifier for the state track and field meet last season in the Class 4A 3,200 meet, but he did not finish the race at state.
The two finished first and second in the MVAC meet last year with Aesoph taking the title in 19 minutes, 35 seconds. Downs finished 51 seconds behind. “I think it’s a blessing that Amber and I have each other,” Downs said.
At the Class 1A 3,200-meter race at Drake Stadium in Des Moines in May, Roder was declared the champion despite the race lasting just seven laps. He is ranked No. 2 in the current 1A cross-country rankings.
Next season, Aesoph will trade in her navy Heelan uniform for the black-and-gold of the Iowa Hawkeyes, where she'll run on a full-ride scholarship. But first, she has one more run in her legs for the Crusaders.
If Bouwers feels good Saturday morning, he'll run at his normal pace for the Stars, who are No. 6 in a state 4A poll. “We’re going to game plan for the best-case scenario … he’s going to run on Saturday," coach Abdier Marrero said.