Wright City cross country coach Sue Wright came away from the Hancock Invitational with added excitement for her team’s potential. The Wildcats are relying on several freshmen this season, and that …
Wright City cross country coach Sue Wright came away from the Hancock Invitational with added excitement for her team’s potential.
The Wildcats are relying on several freshmen this season, and that group of underclassmen shined during Saturday’s meet.
Wright says the meet was one of the more challenging runs her team had competed in this season.
“This was a really good meet to see where we would be at on a state level,” said Wright. “It’s a pretty premier meet for the St. Louis area.”
Teams even traveled from the west side of the state, prompting the races to split between smaller and larger classes. There were around 150 competitors in each race.
The Wildcats were paced by junior Zach Kowalik, who finished sixth with a time of 17:42. Wright says he has yet to drop into the 18 minute range this season, which is a sign he is right on track for a return to state.
“I’m really pleased with where he’s at this early in the season,” said Wright.
Senior Eric Smurl placed 51st, running in at a time of 20:25.
He was followed by freshman Brendan Gierer, who clocked a 20:44 on a very hill course.
Wright says her runners mentioned how training on the uneven surfaces at Innsbrook had prepared them for such challenging terrain
“Several of them came in and told me they were always passing people on the hills,” said Wright. “That’s a testament to where we practice at.”
Senior Erik Hunter completed the course in 21:16, while freshman Gary Meyer logged a 22:02.
Devin Kiser ran a 23:21 for the Wildcats.
Wright City was without some of its runners, who were attending a band event. Despite the absences, the boys team finished 11th overall.
The Wildcats had just one representative on the girls’ side, as senior Rebecca Brown placed sixth overall. Wright says her time of 22:38 was a good indicator for where she at conditioning-wise.
“This was a really good confidence builder for our younger runners,” said Wright. “It’s always nice for them to gain experience on different kinds of terrain.”
Conditions were outstanding for the event, held at Jefferson Barracks near the river.
“We couldn’t have had better weather,” added Wright.
The Wildcats will compete in the Warrenton Invitational this Friday. The event has previously been held at Country Lakes Golf Course but will take place at Warrenton High School this time.