Chapman junior Taylor Briggs won the heat-shortened Abilene Invitational Cross Country Meet for the third time in her high school career.
Briggs ran the two-mile course in 13:10.9 to finish ahead of Southeast of Saline runner Jentrie Alderson at 13:42.5. Marion’s Heidi Grimmett ran third place with a time of 14:48.7.
Due to the high heat index, the runners competed in two miles rather than the customary 5K on the high school side while the middle school runners ran one mile on Thursday.
“It is a really hot day,” Abilene head coach Andy Cook said. “First of all, I am really proud of our school district and our community for putting all of this together and to make sure all of our kids are safe. That means the most to me. I am proud of our kids. It’s tough out here today but they finishing with resolve and I am happy with their performances. I thought our girls ran great. Four of the five girls that ran today hadn’t run a cross-country race before. They got their first one in and I think we will get some medals out of that.”
Abilene’s Kristen Stroda ran in her first high school cross country meet and the freshman finished with a time of 15:38.3 and crossed at sixth place. Junior Bailey Rock also ran in her first cross-country race and finished in 13th with a two-mile time of 16:41.0. Sophomores Alice Bathurst and Aelyn Aravelo-Pecina also ran for the first time and junior Allison Liby rounded out the Cowgirl team.
Team wise the Cowgirls placed second to Southeast of Saline.
Chapman’s Briggs was the lone runner for the Lady Irish.
In the boy’s competition, Southeast of Saline returned everybody back on a team that won the Class 3A boys state competition a year ago. Dominic Jackson took the Abilene title for SES with a time of 10:53.3. His teammates finished second, third, fifth and sixth in the two-mile run Thursday. Dylan Sprecker ran a second place time of 10:55.5 and Luke Gleason finished third at 11:03.9.
Goessel’s Jerah Schmidt captured fourth place at 11:24.8.
Abilene freshman Grant Waite debuted his high school career with a seventh place finish at 11:45.0. He crossed just in front of senior Aaron Geissinger at 11:56.3. Thurman Geissinger ran in 12th place Thursday with a time of 12:26.5. Abilene junior Blaise McVan, running in his first cross-country meet, finished with a time of 12:50.0. Austin Mather rounded out the Cowboy runners at 13:02.5 and that enabled the Cowboys to finish second place as a team behind Southeast of Saline.
“Our boys did exactly what I asked them to do,” Cook said. “My top two guys, I asked them to run together and they did that and then we had a group of three after that. I am just really pleased with today. They did what we asked them to do.
“Kristen and Grant did a really great job today as freshmen,” Cook said. “They were league champions last year for the middle school and we knew all about them. We’ve coached them for two years. They are going to do good things for us and they will be leaders on this team down the line. Our seniors Aaron (Geissinger) and Annie (Bathurst) are doing a great job of leading our teams. Annie is injured right now but she is still valuable to us as a leader. We have lots of talent on our team this year especially with some of the newbies like Bailey (Rock) and Blaise (McVan) – both are out for the first time and they have really stepped right in and are doing a nice job.”
Chapman’s Eli Winder crossed at 11th place in a time of 12:20.2 to lead the fourth place Fighting Irish. Chris Falls (13:01.9), Jackson Wasylk (13:26.8), Jonathan Mitchell (13:30.2) and Tyler Dalke (13:36.6) rounded out Chapman’s team scoring.
Next up for the Cowboys is the Holton Invitational on Sept. 12.