Trio of freshmen set pace for Maranatha Academy girls cross country squad
And the freshmen shall leadeth them.
Behind individual finishes of places second, third and fifth, the Maranatha Academy girls cross country team took second out six teams Friday at the Maranatha Invitational, missing out on first place by a mere seven points to Christ Prep. All three of Maranatha’s top three finishers were freshmen.
Freshman Lauren Heller led the way for the Eagles as she took second in an 89-runner field. Heller was followed by freshman teammate Hope Manning while fellow freshman Taylor Morrow was close on Manning’s tail with a fifth-place finish. Sophomore Krista Johnson and senior Courtney Brownlee also medaled for Maranatha as they finished 15th and 19th, respectively.
“It was a great day,” Maranatha cross country head coach Bianca Williams said.
Of her freshmen, Williams had no trouble explaining the reasons behind their solid finishes.
“One, they’ve got natural talent,” Williams said. “Two, they have run together for a couple of years through junior high. They push each other and they work together. Lauren and Hope, throughout a race, are always together. They always seem to switch whoever comes first. At practice, I’ll put them with the boys just to push them a little bit more.”
While Christ Prep earned first place and Maranatha second, Tonganoxie High School grabbed the team third-place trophy.
On the boys’ side, the Eagles took fourth out of six teams. In the 90-runner field, the trio of seniors Luke Miller, Caleb Hartig and Ian Bower earned individual medals by taking 14th, 15th and 17th, respectively.
“The boys looked good and ran well,” Williams said. “It was just a tough field for them.”
The Maranatha Invitational was held at Maranatha’s home running grounds — the Zarda Farm at K-10 and Kill Creek Road. The property is owned by Maranatha track coach Bernie Zarda.
Both Eagle teams will be back in action this Thursday as they head to Mill Valley for the Cat Classic. The meet will feature a majority of schools that are at least two classes bigger than 2A Maranatha, so Williams is having her team think more inwardly about their goals for this meet.
“The kids are — most of them — consistently bringing their times down,” Williams said. “We will have them race their individual race and concentrate on bringing down their times.”
The Eagles will then be off for a week before playing host to the Crossroads Conference Cross Country Championships for the first time on Oct. 15. With both the Mill Valley event and the conference meet, Williams is using the opportunity to try to get her team to peak by regionals.
“We’re not tapering down for these races,” Williams said. “We’re hoping to get them (her runners) good PRs (personal records) and get them in good shape for regionals.”
A name was incorrect in the story “MVHS boys showcase depth at Rim Rock Farm Classic” in the Sept. 28 issue of The Dispatch. The name Kate Albrecht should have said Lauren Harrell.