QUINCY -- Once again, Fiker Rosen's knowledge of the course at Bob Mays Park paid dividends.
The Quincy High School sophomore cross country runner won his second straight Western Big Six Conference individual title on Thursday on his home course, taking first in a time of 15 minutes, 49 seconds.
Rosen was only one of two runners to break 16 minutes, with Moline's Tim Wolf coming in second with a 15:59 and Jackson McClellan taking third for the Maroons in 16:05.
For the first two miles of the race, Wolf and McClellan ran stride for stride with Rosen, but the speedy Blue Devil took off as the finish line approached and left his competitors lagging behind, though he did sneak a few peaks to make sure his lead held.
"At the two-mile mark when they were still with me I was a little scared, I know they have a good kick because I saw them in track last year," Rosen said. "I thought they would get me so that's why I kept looking behind in the last half mile."
QHS coach Matt McClelland said the reason Rosen knows how to navigate the course so well is because of pure repetition.
"We've been out here probably close to 50 times this year," McClelland said. "We do all of our workouts here, so he knows where the 800 meter mark is, or the 400 or 1,200, he just knows this place. He takes advantage of it and he can take off and go from anybody."
When Rosen finished off his race, he gave an excited jump to celebrate another WB6 title.
"I just wanted to win conference for a second year, this was my plan all year," he said with a wide grin.
Rosen was joined in the top 15 by teammate Devin Hermsmeier, who placed 13th in 16:59, one of his better races of the season.
"He's been waiting on that, he's been at that mark where he has been chomping at the bit," McClelland said of Hermsmeier. "He was just under 17 minutes today, and he's been really wanting that. To do that on this course now, that's outstanding."
The Blue Devils came in fifth as a team with 116 points.
United Township took the team title with a 42 thanks to placing four runners in the top eight spots. James Wright was fourth in 16:10, while Trey Heinz was fifth, Roberto Munoz sixth and Logan Veloz eighth.
Moline finished in second as a team with a 75.
Western Big Six Conference meet
At Bob Mays Park
1. United Township, 42; 2. Moline, 75; 3. Geneseo, 82; 4. Sterling, 110; 5. Quincy High School, 116; 6. Rock Island, 119; 7. Galesburg, 175; 8. Rock Island Alleman, 192.
1. Fiker Rosen, Quincy High School, 15:49
2. Tim Wolf, Moline, 15:59
3. Jackson McClellan, 16:05
4. James Wright, United Township, 16:10
5. Trey Heinz, United Township, 16:15
6. Roberto Munoz, United Township, 16:20
7. Ben Vasquez, Galesburg, 16:22
8. Logan Veloz, United Township, 16:24
9. Jon Hutton, Moline, 16:26
10. William Plumley, Geneseo, 16:39
11. Javon Bruce, Sterling, 16:53
12. Justin Johnson, Geneseo, 16:54
13. Devin Hermsmeier, Quincy High School, 16:59
14. Sam Janssen, Sterling, 17:01
15. Colby Rapps, Geneseo, 17:02