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Conference tie break goes to Bulldogs: 5th runner decides Cross Country meet
October 08, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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The boys’ division of the Western Conference Cross Country meet in Gering on Monday turned into a real nail biter as Gering took the title with 23 team points.

When the event was over, both Gering and Mitchell boys had 23 team points and was decided by a tiebreaker. The top four runners are scored and in case of a tie, the fifth place runner with the best time determines the winner. Gering’s fifth place runner was Christian Arellano, who posted a time of 19:17, although he came in 15th overall.

“We talk about tiebreakers all the time,” said Gering boys’ coach Rick Marez. “Sometimes the kids at 5th and 6th don’t think their role is that important. But I tell them they have to beat as many people as possible because they could decide the tiebreaker. Monday was an example of that.”

Marez said the team ran better than he thought. It was the first time the event was held in the Five Rocks Amphitheater area, as the golf course was being used for the district golf tourney.

“The city came out and helped us mow a path through the canyon,” he said. “They also graded some roads.

He added that while hills looked steep, the runners’ times were actually faster than he thought because they were running on short notice. The team didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, as the event was cancelled last Saturday due to rain, then rescheduled for Monday.
Medaling in the top 10 for Gering was Xavier Arellano in second with 17:43. Jacey Shaul was fourth at 18:04, Logan Moravec in seventh with an 18:20 time and Tanner Walker in 10th with 18:48.

Mitchell placed three runners in the top 10. Edward Grentz won the boys’ division with a 17:36 time. Chase Watson was in third at 17:56 and Cody Mueller in fifth at 18:12.

Marez said the atmosphere should be more relaxed on Friday as the team is in Cheyenne for an invitational. “We’ll try to rest a bit and get some runners over injuries and illnesses. We want to be sure everyone is ready for the district meet.”

In the girls’ division, Sidney took the team title with 17 points and Gering finished second with 19. The fastest individual times were posted by three of the area’s top runners. Mitchell junior Celeste Cardona took first place, coming in at 20:23. Coming in second, two seconds behind, was Gering’s Rebekah Rawlings at 20:25. Mitchell’s Madison Watson was third at 20:41.

Other Gering runners in the top 10 were Nicole Patton in fifth with a 22:01 time, Destiny Mueller in ninth at 22:29 and Hope Abel in 10th with a 23:08 time.

Gering girls’ coach Caleigh Walker said the team ran well, although Hadley Kirk was out with an injury. “We had some of the other girls really step it up,” she said. Nicole Patton had a great race and so did Hope Abel.”

She added the team is now focused on staying healthy for the upcoming district meet, which will determine who qualifies for the state meet. “Districts won’t be an easy day for us,” she said. A lot of good teams will be there, so we have to run well.”

Gering will head west on Friday (Oct. 9) for the Cheyenne East Invitational. The district meet is Oct. 15 in Ogallala.
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