Analysis: The Dowling Catholic boys have been inching their way toward national contention over the past five years. Last fall, they were the first team on the outside looking in as they finished third at the NXN Heartland Region. In 2016, they were eighth, and in 2015 they were fifth. They've won two of the last three Iowa Class 4A State Cross Country Championships. The last time the Dowling Catholic boys team was at NXN was in 2012 when they placed 19th.
This year they return five of seven guys from last years NXN Heartland Region team. Will Ode and Cole Schroeder were their number two and three guys at the Heartland region and appear to be the top two coming back in 2018. The team through five guys has an average 5K time of 15:57.48 and a 1-5 split of 1:03.98 based on 2017 seasons best marks.