MOSCOW — Hazy skies did not deter the Badger cross country teams from competing in the Erik Anderson Invitational at Plantes Ferry near Spokane two Saturdays ago or the Bob Weisel Invite at Phillips Farm in Moscow last Saturday.
The races differed considerably in number of participants, topography, and structure, despite both being 5 kilometers.
The Plantes Ferry Invite brought a range of Washington and Idaho schools together and also featured male and female collegiate races.
The race was held at the Plantes Ferry sports complex and featured long open stretches of grass punctuated by short hills and tight turns.
Runners from over 40 schools participated in the high school races — freshman, junior varsity, and varsity.
“Our boys’ team did well, and I liked that we could run our freshmen in a class race, even though it meant that our JV boys were an incomplete team. We didn’t run a complete girls’ team, as the girls were in separate races, and we’ve had a couple out for injuries,” said coach Paul Bonnell.
“Aimee Sayers and Hannah Lysne ran competitive races.”
In the varsity boys, junior Luke Reoch ran a 16:50 and placed 20th in stiff competition from schools such as Central Valley (Spokane), Riverside (Washington), Moscow, and Sandpoint.
For the varsity boys, it came down to solid racing fundamentals on the grassy, open course.
“They made the most of every opportunity and ran strategic, gutsy races.” Bonnell said.
Despite feeling “off” just prior to the race, senior Tyson Boorman had a standout performance.
Varsity seniors Josh Dufrene, Jared Lysne, and Alec Perkins stepped up, and joined by sophomore Jacob Perkins and junior Collin Cossairt, led the boys to a 13th-place team finish, over teams from Moscow, Lakeland, and Sandpoint.
The Bob Weisel Invite at Phillips Farm Park in Moscow featured sand and steep hills, including an uphill finish of around 1,000 meters.
The race structure was by classes, with all freshmen running together, all sophomores, and so forth.
“The Badgers were well represented. I like class races, although it’s a bit bittersweet to stand at the starting line with all the seniors,” said Bonnell.
There were no team scores, given the class structure, but several Badgers placed in the top 10 in each race.
“I’m glad that we ran well on such a tough course,” said Bonnell.
“I remember middle school, when I thought 1.5 miles was hard. Now, I’m racing more than twice as far. It seemed impossible before, and now I’m doing it,” freshman Alva Swanson said.