Cross Country Season Opener Recap

Saturday’s meet at Trimble County was a bit of scorcher. We were below the recommended heat index, but it was still hot and humid enough to take a toll on athletes. Our runners responded well and like true Camels, withstood the desert-like heat to place well against the competition.

The Camel Boys were the first race of the day, and even at 9:30 AM, we could tell the heat and humidity were going to be tough. Senior Bryan Howell led the Camels with an award-winning fifth place finish in a large field. Junior Christian Slone followed just 36 seconds behind, pulling in 9th place, and Freshman Jordan Hartig continued debuted in his first high school race by taking the Camels 3 spot. Colton Conroy and Anthony Schwarberg finished the Camels scoring squad, with Daniel Chamberlain hot on their heels. The Camels having 5 in the top 49 of the race lifted them to a second place finish and set the stage for a strong season in contention for the sought-after state qualifying place later in the year. the 1-5 split rested 2:50, a solid spread for this early in the season. If we can get that as near to 1:00 as possible, the Camels will be a major threat. The rest of the Camels turned in solid performances for the first meet and only time and hard work will tell who claims positions in the upcoming weeks!

In the Lady Camels race, Sidney Reagor set her mind to placing high and finished 2nd overall among over 200 runners. She was followed closely by Vanessa Neiser in 4th place who has come out strong this season after getting some experience under her belt last year. Sophomore Allie Franzen rounded out the Camel Triple Threat by placing 6th. Having 3 ladies in the top 10 is a great sign for the season to come! In her debut cross country race, Devan Carrigan clenched the number 4 runner spot for the Lady Camels as she carried her track intensity and great focus with her through the race (I suspect when I yelled ‘only 400 to go’ she smiled inside and felt a familiar twinge). Beam Kumkerd put her off-season training to great use and put herself in scoring position, followed closely by senior Lydia Wolf and Paxton Glenn. The Lady Camels had a 1-5 split of 5:49, faster than the first race last season, and showing they are up for the challenge of being one of the top in our region. From that point on, the Camels formed a tight second pack rolling in one right after the other. The girls ended with 5th place, but there was only a 10 point spread between us and 2nd place, showing how close we are to the top and that each spot counts!

We know that there were many times throughout the races that the Camels wondered why they were there facing the heat and putting themselves through this, but we can’t say enough how proud we are at the way they continued fighting and clawing their way to the finish!

It takes true grit and determination to overcome the mental and physical challenges that we faced Saturday and if this weekend’s performances were any indication to the
character of our runners, we have champions in the house!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Toni is the Cross Country and girls Track & Field coach.