|Boys upstaged at Gering Invite: Strong female finishes for Scottsbluff, Gering|
|September 09, 2016 Frank Marquez|
A big draw for local competition in officially the first meet of the season, 14 junior varsity boys’ cross country teams and 20 varsity boys’ teams competed in the Gering Invitational on Friday morning a week ago at the Monument Shadows Golf Course in Gering. Eight teams competed in the junior varsity girls’ division, and 15 teams in the girls’ varsity race.
In varsity competition, among the boys’ teams, the Kelly Walsh Trojans of Casper, Wyoming, topped the field, with the Greeley West Spartans finishing second. Among area teams, the Scottsbluff Bearcats finished third, and Gering sixth. Bayard, Mitchell and Morrill placed 12th, 14th, and 20th, respectively.
Gering Head Coach Rick Marez said he was satisfied with the Bulldogs’ performances in the first meet of the season:
“The kids did exactly what we talked about going into the meet. Get a fast start and set a mark for us to use as a measurement for the rest of the season. I was looking for good times, but the kids did more than just post times, they competed. I thought the girls came out a little fast and I was worried that they would not look good when they finished, but I was wrong. I thought they looked really good. That’s a testament to their summer training. We have so many kids who are driven to keep pushing personal success; it makes my job easy. The boys did a great job. We had a couple of guys that weren’t pleased with their race from a strategic point of view. They ran tough, but they put themselves in a bad position early in the race.”
Individually, Bearcat senior Josh Hergenreder crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 17:03.05, while Gering sophomore Logan Moravec was seventh (17:46.69). Four runners from Kelly Walsh and a third placer from Campbell County finished between them. Josh Hergenreder’s brother and fellow senior Noah was eighth (17:59.94) and Gering junior Xavier Arellano was 10th (18:05.93). Gering senior Tanner Walker (18:36.94) and Bayard junior Alex Araujo (18:37.46) were the only other local runners to finish in the top 25.
“The competition couldn’t have been any better,” Marez said. “I believe the Panhandle has some of the best runners in the state and the Gering Invite is the best showcase for the area schools. We already expect a highly competitive meet with schools like Scottsbluff, Sidney, Mitchell and then to get schools like Kelly Walsh, Gillette, Cheyenne East? You just have to enjoy and appreciate the caliber of runners that attend this meet. We had 25 schools bring runners for the different races.”
In the varsity girls’ competition, among area teams Scottsbluff was first, Gering third, and Mitchell fourth. Interloper Campbell County was second. Bayard finished in the 13th place.
Individually, Scottsbluff senior Whitney Riesen came in second (19:54.5) behind winner Cheyenne East sophomore Mackenzie Marier (19:00.72). Scottsbluff junior Kaylee Bentley came in fourth place to edge Gering senior Rebekah Rawlings, who finished fifth, recorded a respectable time of 20:55.58 to break the cobwebs of offseason. Gering freshman Tukker Romey was seventh (21:22.41). Mitchell had a strong showing with three runners cracking the top 25. Tiger sophomore Hannah Knepper was 12th (21:59.11) and senior Celeste Cardona in 13th (22:00.18) was right on her heels. Fellow teammate senior Madison Watson finished 15th (22:07.22). Also among top 25 finishers, in 23rd and 24th were Bearcat senior Tayler Gipe (22:31.66) and sophomore Morgan Mickey (22:35.28). Bayard’s top finisher was freshman Jessica Whitebear, who finished in 27th place (22:39.5).
The Trojans topped the junior varsity boys’ field with area teams Scottsbluff finishing fourth with 89 points, and Gering ending up in the middle of the pack in seventh place. The Trojans runners took the top five places in individual results, while Bearcat freshman, Tucker Straub broke the tape in sixth place with a time of 20:12.22, almost 40 seconds off lead runner Trojan sophomore Joshua Martin (18:33.97).
In the junior varsity girls’ competition, Gering finished in third place, and Scottsbluff was fourth. Among individual girls’ results, Gering sophomore Destiny Mueller finished in seventh place (23:51.28) behind Scottsbluff freshman Yara Garcia (23:46.44). Among other local runners in the top 25, Gering freshman Makenna Culek (24:19.94) finished 10th, and two teammates sophomores Rachel Rawlings (25:34.8) and Hassie Hood (25:39.55) finished 19th and 20th, respectively. Mitchell junior Miah Buckley was 23rd (26:00.61).
Not thinking he’s ever surprised at the results, Marez said, “I don’t always put a lot of stock in simply winning or running outstanding times. I look to have times that are a reflection of our current state of fitness. Now, I had a couple of kids that I was pleasantly surprised with how they competed. I can recall how they looked when they got to the middle of the race and they were starting to feel discomfort. We will take a couple of different elements of racing this week and incorporate them at the Chadron Invite (on Saturday morning, September 10). We will continue to risk a bad performance to find out how good we can be. If we can show growth as the season progresses, we can continue to work hard and be happy with the results.”
Varsity Boys Teams
Kelly Walsh 17
Greeley West 78
Campbell County 90
Cheyenne East 146
Cheyenne South 150
Creek Valley 311
Varsity Girls Teams
Campbell County 47
Greeley West 92
Cheyenne East 100
Kelly Walsh 115
Cheyenne South 180
Pine Bluffs 252