Perry Bluejays’ making strides at Invitational

: Cesar J ToledoSports

Cross Country: Gilbert invitational “On your mark get set,” as the whistle blew indicating the start of the cross country season the Perry Bluejays were in strong form showcasing their talents.

On Thursday August 27, the Bluejays were front and center competing against over 10 teams at the Gilbert Invitational hosted by Iowa State University. Both the boys and girls team were eager to make Perry High School proud.

“The team is going to hit it hard and fast and do our best,” said senior Fernando Catalan.

Catalan along with fellow seniors Morgan Holstrom and Brody Kimruy were on the field staying loose minutes before the start of their own race.

On the field for the girls team was Grace Stewart who stood alone as the lone representative for the Jays. A sophomore, Stewart and the rest of her team have been been engaging in time trials versus the boys in preparation for her first 5k event. She is familiar with this course and has set a goal for herself.

“I am going for 24 minutes,” she said.

Stewart didn’t disappoint as she crossed the finish line under her time at 23 minutes: 42 seconds, setting a girl’s Bluejays’ record. Sharing in the celebration was Holstrom who finished with a time of 21 minutes 42 seconds, which was under his anticipated goal.

“I was expecting to hit like a 22 so I did a lot better than I thought,” he said. “ Fox always says that this course adds two minutes to your time. So if that is true I’ll be running 19 minutes 37 seconds on a nice easy course.”

Runners were aware of how challenging this course was as they’ve had to contend with hills, and muddy trails.

“They don’t have many hills but the hills that they do have our straight up or they’re extremely long so it wears you down,”Catalan said. “Plus, every year for the past two years before this it has rained right before. So all this stuff through the woods gets really wet and it bogs you down because your feet sink into the mud.”

Overall the Bluejays’ eight-man lineup finished 11th with a total time of one hour 59 minutes and 16 seconds. An individual average of 23 minutes; 51 seconds. Congratulations to all who participated.

The team’s next meet will be on September 8, at the Winterset Invitational, in Winterset at 4:30 p.m.