The Holden cross country teams opened the season at the St. Mary’s 50th Cross Country Invitational Meet at St. Michael the Archangel High School Saturday, September 3.
Eight total Holden runners left the meet with medal placings on the course which in recent seasons has been the starting point of the season for Holden.
“I thought it was a very good overall performance,” said Holden cross country head coach Dale Wescott. “That’s a big feat to get that first race out of the way.”
For four-year Eagle runner Zach Willis, the race represented the first competition of his final high school season. The senior turned in a third-place medal finish with a time of 17:53 among 53 finishers.
“Zach being a senior stood out, and he led the way,” said coach Wescott. “He was two minutes faster than at that race last year.”
Sophomores Rett Hankins and Caleb Koehn finished back-to-back for Holden in 24th and 25th-place, respectively with the top-35 finishers receiving medals. Hankins timed out at 20:27. Koehn clocked a time of 20:45 after the two sophomores led the Holden boys team out of the chute.
“Across the board, they all took out fast which is something we preach,” highlighted coach Wescott. “Rett’s been battling sickness, and he fought to get through the race. Caleb was really coming on last season before we lost him to sickness. On Saturday, he was number-three on our team.”
Foreign exchange student Ruben Wiesmann ran as the Holden boys team’s number-four runner in a sprint to the finish line against sophomore teammate Ethan Rice. Wiesmann placed 33rd with Rice in 34th place for top-35 medal placings.
“Ruben medaled in his first race,” noted coach Wescott.
Sophomore Jackson Treece placed 41st on Saturday as the boys team’s number-six runner.
“Jackson was just out of the medals,” said coach Wescott.
Rounding out the boy’s side for Holden was Lukas Hunt in 52nd place.
For the Lady Eagles squad of three runners, sophomore Ava Young cracked the top-10 by placing ninth in a time of 25:05, matching her ninth-place finish from last season, but with a faster time this year.
“She’s doing a good job of being a leader,” stated coach Wescott of Young who ran as the lone Lady Eagle representative as a freshman last season.
On Saturday, Young was joined on the course by freshmen teammates Abby Miller and Malea Brewington. Miller timed out at 25:44 to place 16th. Brewington placed 23rd with a time of 27:01 among the field of 40 girls finishers.
“We had two girls who were finishing their first 5k race,” said coach Wescott. “All three girls medaled.”
On Tuesday of this week, the Holden cross country runners were scheduled to compete at the Higginsville Meet.
The Holden runners have a two-week break from competition after the Higginsville Meet, after which the Eagles and Lady Eagles take to the course at the Lone Jack Meet on Wednesday, September 21.
“That’s a chance for us to get better, and hit it hard,” said coach Wescott of the break, and the opportunity for rigorous training between meets.
The Lone Jack Meet on September 21 has a start time of 4 p.m.