Athlete of the Month - September

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Chances are if you see the Ottumwa girls cross country team running this fall, you’ll see two Bulldogs in front, side by side.

Alli Bookin-Nosbisch and Carollin Mellin finished less than one second apart at last year’s state meet as sophomores.

After finishing 34th and 35th at state last fall, they have even bigger goals for their junior year. Here’s why Alli Bookin-Nosbich and Carollin Mellin are September’s Athletes of the Month.

“They’re tremendous athletes,” head coach Angie Chaney said. “I mean last year we qualified the whole team but they also qualified individually so they’ve set themselves big individual goals as well going into the season.”

The OHS junior tandem has found success in setting big and specific goals.

“They want to have something to go for every race,” Chaney said. “They want to know specifics. What we expect them to place, what time we think they should get and they are able to go out and do that every race.”

This season’s long term goals include an improvement on last year’s state tournament finish.

“I’m hoping to place higher this year than I did last year,” Mellin said.

“I definitely want to place like top-20, top-15 and my big goal this year is to break 19 (minutes),” Bookin-Nosbisch said.

Coming in under 19 minutes at state this year would require shaving just over 30 seconds off their times from last season. Luckily, they have each other to push for that.

“We’re super competitive so it’s really nice because we can always build off of each other and that is awesome,” Bookin-Nosbisch said.

“It pushes us a lot because sometimes one of us will be further ahead and then we’ll just come right up and it will go like back and forth which like helps us get faster and build more endurance,” Mellin said.

On tough days where they’re not on their “A game” at practice they hold each other accoutable.

“That happens like all the time,” Mellin said. “One of us might be like ‘Oh I’m not really feeling it’ but then once we get started were like ‘Okay, we’re good’ then we can keep going, we got it.”

They’re both on the track team too, along with Alli’s twin sister Grace. The three of them have formed a tight knit running community, and they have each other to thank for their success.

“It helps so much,” Bookin-Nosbisch said. “Because honestly if I didn’t have them to run with I don’t think i would be as fast as I am now because I wouldn’t have anyone to push me. So that helps a lot.”

Through running they’ve formed a bond that will last longer than high school.

“I think it’ll be one of those things where we’ll get back together and stuff as we get older,” Mellin said.

As for this season, the focus is on getting back to state and making a statement.

“Having experienced state last year, and having placed 34th and 35th respectively, they know what they can do with that and they know they’re better than they were last year. So I know they’re setting themselves up for bigger goals this year.”

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