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New faces hit the trails with Woodward cross country

Sean Cordy - Correspondent
Members of the Woodward-Granger girls cross country team compete on Monday, Sept. 14 at the Ballard Golf and Country Club.

Woodward-Granger was finally able to run again after cancellations the past few weeks. Facing some top competition both boys and girls Monday, Sept. 14 in Huxley from over 20 teams, the Hawks finished 10th among 11 boys teams and ninth among nine girls teams competing in Class B.

Head coach Dave Smeltzer said he looked to shift names around to find the varsity team to roll with moving forward. The team did go through a bit of a remix as three runners saw their first action of the season.

A Woodward-Granger runner competes on Monday, Sept. 14 during the Mike Carr Invitational at the Ballard Golf and Country Club in Huxley.

Taking the top spot once again for the Hawks, sophomore Carsten Wright was the lone top 30 finisher as he finished in 19 minutes 20.8 seconds for 27th place. Though it was 50 seconds behind his first mark of the season, not even sixth-ranked Clay Pehl from Madrid could claim a personal best as he fell half a minute compared to his time two weeks ago at home.

That makes Xavier Ibarra (53rd, 22:12.9) a rarity compared to the competition. Though he finished in the latter half of the group, he jumped into second place among the team after crossing third two weeks ago.

Members of the Woodward-Granger cross country team keep pace with the rest of the field on Monday, Sept. 14 at the Ballard Golf and Country Club.

In their first varsity race of the season were Riece Graham (57th, 22:17.9); Joel Harney (67th, 24:04.8), and freshman Dillon Limoges (70th, 24:14.0). Kurt Crouse (71st, 24:53.1) and Kainen Fuson (72nd, 24:53.3) rounded out the depth chart.

Smeltzer's goal following the Madrid run for the girls was to get them to split up more from their pack. While they didn't finish in consecutive order like last time, their times held largely familiar between the final 30 finishes.

A Woodward-Granger runner competes on Monday, Sept. 14 during the Mike Carr Invitational in Huxley.

Freshman Libby Grell (43rd, 26:00.7) once again led the Hawks, closely followed by her bloodline as Sydney Grell (46th, 27:20.7) and Katie Grell (49th, 27:31.6) were next. 

Makenzie Dresback (56th, 28:49.2); Kaitlyn Smith (58th, 29:25.3); Madisyn Mann (58th, 31:33.4); Marissa Trees (62nd, 36:18) rounded out Woodward's list as the team's collective time on the tough trail was seven minutes behind the opener pace.

The course in Panorama is next on the Hawks' schedule on Thursday, Sept. 17.