Bluejays cross-country teams go the distance in two separate invitationals

Cesar J ToledoSports
Bluejays cross-country teams go the distance in two separate invitationals

On Thursday, September 10, the boys and girls cross-country team traveled to Jefferson and competed at the Greene County Invitational. Overall, the boys’ team finished in 8th place with its highest finisher coming in at 32nd. The girls’ team ended the day in 9th place with its highest competitor finishing in the top 20.

Sophomore Grace Stewart who ran a 22:42.78 placed 15th in a pool of 111 runners. The closest runner to Stewart was junior Kyla Devilbiss who finished 51st with a time of 27:21.34. The other four competitors finished in order from 55-58th place, with junior Elva Tavarez placing 62nd.

Stewart who has been working hard to get her times lower has started focusing on what has been her biggest obstacles.

“I practice on hills . That is what I’ve had big problems,” she said. “ I try to same the same pace. I want to try to get under 22 minutes.”

The boys’ team had two top 50 finishers. Senior Morgan Holstrom, who has had strong performances this season, placed 32nd with a time of 19:36.38, followed by sophomore Emilio Gonzalez who crossed the finish line with a time of 21:13.49, which placed him in 49th. The team totals were 1:46:11.61 which gave the boys a 21:14.33 average.

The following day the boys and girls teams were seen running around town as they partook in an out of the ordinary but amusing practice. The teams had to run to different check points and take selfies. The team with the most selfies at the finish line won the game. Girls head coach Nathan Krohn and the coaching staff like to change things up a bit so the team stays focused and enjoys the overall experience.

“Since we ran yesterday and today there’s a football game, we like to do different things to make it fun,” he said.

Two days later the Bluejays were boarding a bus and headed to compete in the Ballard Invitational located in Huxley, Ia. Both the Jayettes and Bluejays finished in 11th place. For the Jays, Holstrom and senior Adum Dawit placed in the top 50 with Dawit posting a 19:27 time and Holstrom finishing almost a second behind at 20:21. As a team the Bluejays’ total time was 1:48:13.

Holstrom is in his final year and is leaving no stone unturned as he prepares to give it all he has at each event.

“I am working harder in practices this year that I had before,” he said. “During practice I try to work on my turnover and I just go as hard as I can the whole time. I focus on my strides and focus on my breathing. My goal is 19 flat or under.”

The Jayettes had one top 50 finisher. Once again Stewart finished the race under 23 minutes with a time of 22:24, which earned her 21st place. The Jayettes’ total time was 2:18:39 with a total of six runners having competed. Boys head coach Fox can see how hard his team has worked and has set an attainable goal for the team.

“What I am really just looking for is improvement from each of the runners,” he said. “If they go out and look at their previous times and improve.”

The team doesn’t see action until Tuesday, September 22, when the Bluejays travel to Newton, Ia. to compete in the Newton Invitational. The races start at 5:00 p.m.