Cross country gets off to a running start in first meet

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Sophomore Alissa York stretches her muscles prior to the meet. York finished 2nd for Fairbury and 16th overall. Photo by: A. Buxton

The cross country team kicked off its season at the Grand Island Northwest invitational on Friday, August 30. Eight total schools competed in the event.

Sixteen runners represented Fairbury last week. The girls received 4th overall, and the boys finished in 5th. Individually placing for the teams were were Josephine Blatny ’20 (4th), Alissa York ’22 (16th), Mariel Ramos ’22 (23rd), Kacy Starck ’21 (24th), Cora Tatro ’23 (35th), Lyza Call ’23 (40th) and Darby Paulsen ’20 (45th) on the girls’ side and Ethan Smith ’22 (18th), Alekzander Hunt ’23 (45th), Alex Buxton ’22 (47th), Riley Wood ’21 (59th), Brody Branson ’23 (76th), Seth Engelman ’23 (78th), Ethan Johnson ’22 (81st), Connor Heidemann ’23 (82nd) and Gavin Schramm ’22 (83rd) for the boys. Each athlete had their own set of goals and expectations for themselves heading into the competition.

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Alekzander Hunt ’23 jogs past the Vikings’ football field and outdoor track. Hunt competed in his first high school meet in Grand Island last Friday. Photo by: J. Blatny

“I felt pretty nervous, but I always do before races,” Smith said. “I was just happy it wasn’t a full course. I feel good about my performance: eighteen(th) out of one hundred [is] pretty good, and I had a great finish.”

The first meet of the season allows the team to evaluate where they currently stand compared to where they want to be. Athletes and coaches can set personalized goals based on the new information that arises from the invitational. Ramos has a specific objective in mind she’d like to see accomplished from the girls as a whole.

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The boys take their mark alongside seven other competing schools. 100 runners overall competed in the event. Photo by: J. Blatny

“[My goal is] for our team to place [in the] top five in every meet,” she said.

Cross country will be off to the races again at the Superior invite on Thursday, September 5.