Area runners demonstrate excellence on road
     2014-09-18      By Jerry Purvis    new@geringcitizen.com
Photos by Nathan Flowers/Spectrum Photo Mitchell’s Celeste Cardona paces herself during the Gering Invitational Meet on Friday, Sept. 5. Cardona took first place with a 2050 time last week at the Kimball Invitational, leading the Tiger girls to the title. 
Several cross country teams from the Valley were on the road last week and many posted excellent performance results.

Gering boys and girls bring home Chadron titles

Gering went north on Saturday to the Chadron Invitational, where they won in both boys and girls divisions for the second straight year. The Gering boys posted 18 team points, while the girls had 21.

Both teams ran a 5K course as Gering sophomore Rebekah Rawlings took first place with a time of 20:15. It was more than two minutes faster than what she posted last year. She also placed fifth in Class B at the state meet last fall.

Gering girls’ coach Caleigh Walker thought they had a great race day. “Our No. 2 and No. 3 runners didn’t compete Saturday and some of the others really stepped it up,” she said. “We take it a day at a time work on getting better all the time. The girls do a good job of working together and pushing each other. It’s always hard because we have to deal with sickness and injuries.”

With 16 runners on the girls’ team, the top six to compete changes from event to event. At Chadron, Gering’s Nicole Patton came in seventh with a 22:51 time.

The Gering boys also won at Chadron with a team score of 18. Their top runner was freshman Xavier Arellano, posting a time of 18:07. It was his third time to win at Chadron, as he won the middle school championship there in both seventh and eighth grades.

Other top boys’ finishers for Gering included Jacey Shaul in fifth with an 18:57 time and Kyle Upp coming in seventh at 19:11.

“As a whole, I though the boys did a pretty good job,” said boys’ coach Rick Marez. “The runners got to make some the improvements they had talked about earlier. A couple of them wanted to start faster and a couple wanted to make a surge in the middle. For the most part, everyone got the chance to try something new and they all felt good about it.”

Marez said it was good to see Arellano getting back into shape after coming off an injury earlier in the season. “Xavier started running cross country in junior high. Chadron is his favorite course.”

He added that freshman Ty Romey, in his second meet, looked a lot better at Chadron as he posed a time of 19:41.

Mitchell Tigers clench Kimball Invite

The Mitchell Tigers won the Kimball Invitational on Sept. 12 with a low score of 15 team points. Both the Mitchell boys and girls placed first and second at the event. Celeste Cardona won the girls division with a time of 20:50. Teammate Madison Watson came in second, posting a time of 22:36.

For the Mitchell boys, Edward Grentz took first with an 18:11 time. Second place Chase Watson, Madison’s brother, came in a mere four seconds later at 18:15. The boys had three other runners place in the top 10 – Cody Mueller in fourth with 19:00, Max Avila in ninth with 20:02 and Joseph Pieper in 10th with a time of 20:14.

“The team all ran really hard,” said Mitchell cross country coach Mike Harriger. “We didn’t have really fast times, but I was happy with everyone’s performance.”

Harriger said he’s thankful to have five returning starters who competed in the state meet last year. “They provide some good experience and are really stepping up to help the younger runners,” he said. “That really helps me in my job.”

Banner County runners make good showing

The brand new Banner County Wildcat cross country team also competed at Kimball. Coach Kari Gifford said they exceeded some of the goals they set for themselves.

For the girls, Courtney Knisley finished 12th with a 24:59 time and Teresa Monsees was 15th at 25:41. Josh Boston, Banner County’s only boys’ runner, came in 37th with a time of 25:41 in his first meet. However, Gifford said he exceeded his goal time by almost 10 minutes.

Scottsbluff girls first place in Colorado

The Scottsbluff boys and girls cross country teams were also busy last Friday in Littleton, Colo. for the Liberty Bell Invite. Head Coach Jim Barker called it an “impressive performance” as the girls took first place in the team standings with 83 points and the boys came in third with 118.

The Bearcat girls has four runners place in the top 20 with Taylor Muncie in sixth with a 19:08 time and Kaylee Bentley in 10th with 19:26. Whitney Riesen was 12th with 19:32 and Shaleigh James at 17th with a 19:52 time.

“The girls ran so well in Colorado,” Barker said. “Our time between scoring runners was down to a minimum and that’s what we always work on. It was a pleasant surprise to come away winning the event.”

Matthew Barraza led the way for the Scottsbluff boys with a runner-up finish of 15:37.5. Shane Burkey placed fourth with a 16:11 time to finish among the school’s top five fastest times recorded in a meet.

“Matthew Barraza broke our course record over there by 30 seconds, which is unheard of,” Barker said. “For him to run that fast was outstanding. And Shane Burkey, our No. 2 runner had a phenomenal last 400 meters. He improved his record on the course by at least 40 seconds.”
Barker said he liked what he saw from both teams and they have a solid core going into future events.

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