Bulldog harriers run on work ethic tradition
     2014-09-11      By Kay Grote    editor@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Kay Grote/Gering Citizen - Members of the 2014 Gering High School cross country team are, front row from left, Marisa Robles, Kali Rimington, Julia Ybarra, Austin Rogers, Keenean Fogle, Kyle Upp, Jacey Shaul, Kaelyn Shaul, Hadley Kirk and Logan VanAnne. Second row from left, Xavier Arellano, Katie Martindale, Bianca Quintana, Jerilyn Laws, Tanner Walker, Fransheska Plasencio, Hope Abel, Kale Hamilton and Nicole Patton. Back row from left, Ty Romey, Faith Powell, Taylor Vance, Jordan Overlin, Alyssa Greeley, Rebekah Rawlings and Weston Hutson. Head boys’ coach is Rick Marez and head girls’ coach is Caleigh Walker. 
The hopes of the Gering cross country team are running high this fall with the return of several seasoned letter winners as well as promising underclassmen. With over 50 student athletes between the high school and junior high squads training this season, head boys coach Rick Marez, assistant coach Mason Nab, and head girls’ coach Caleigh Walker know they are preparing to not only defend conference and district positions but to also build upon a strong running Dawgs tradition.

Marez said the team’s strength lies in their commitment to the process of getting better. “The guys understand the sport and they understand that they will need to stay patient and continue to work hard every day,” Marez said. “Our goals are to earn trust from one another, get better each week, and finish top three in conference and district meets.”

Marez expects a strong work ethic to be shown in seniors Kyle Upp, Keenean Fogle, who both qualified for last year’s state meet, and Austin Rogers. Junior Jacey Shaul, also a state meet qualifier and newcomers junior Ty Romey and freshman Zavier Arellano are expected to round out the top slots of the boys’ varsity roster.

“It is imperative that we run strong as a unit and support each other every day,” Marez said. “I like how the guys have looked up to this point of the season. They are more competitive than I expected and they are working harder than what I expected this early in the season.”

Marez said competition among the B-6 District will be “incredibly competitive” this year with top competition coming from Scottsbluff and Lexington.

Fifth year girls’ head coach Caleigh Walker knows the lady runners are well prepared coming off a summer of training and conditioning. She is expecting the experience from seven returning letter winners, including five 2013 state qualifiers, and eight strong newcomers to pace the team. Pacing themselves for a return to state this year are seniors Kali Rimington and Julia Ybarra, juniors Hadley Kirk and Jerilyn Laws and sophomore Rebekah Rawlings.

Rawlings set the pace for the team last year as a freshman, running a consistently strong season capped off with a 5th place finish at state. During Saturday’s season opening Gering Invitational held at Monument Shadows Golf Course in Gering, Rawlings ran a 20:06 for a third place finish. Rimington’s course time of 20:58 was good enough for an 11th place finish out of a field of 62 runners. Strong contributions from Laws and freshmen runners Nicole Patton and Fransheska Plasencio helped Gering earn a 2nd place team finish in their opening meet.

Walker is also expecting good things from letter winners, junior Kaelyn Shaul and sophomore Hope Able. Top newcomers are junior Katie Martindale, sophomores Shelly Reza and Faith Powell, and freshmen Nicole Patton, Fransheska Plasencio, Alyssa Greeley and Nellie Kirk.
Pending injuries, Walker said she and her ladies hope to defend their 2013 first place District B-4 win and improve on their 6th place finish at last year’s Nebraska state meet.

The running Dawgs will be in action this Saturday at the Chadron Invitational before traveling to Alliance on Sept. 20.

Gering Cross Country Schedule

Friday, Sept. 5 Gering Invitational 1 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 13 Chadron Invitational at Chadron State College 10 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 20 Alliance Invitational 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 23 Scottsbluff Invitational 5:15 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 29 UNK Invitational at Kearney 2 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 4 Western Conference TBA 9 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 10 Cheyenne East Invitational TBA
Thursday, Oct. 16 Districts TBA
Friday, Oct. 24 State at Kearney

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