The Ord High School cross country teams got their season started this past Thursday at the St. Paul Invitational.  The boys finished second in the 12-team field with a score of 26 points.  They were just 6 points behind meet champion Nebraska Christian.  “I was pleased with the way our boys ran in this meet”, Coach Derry Trampe commented.  “We got out strong and stayed in the race the entire way.  I felt we could have finished a little stronger over the last mile of the race but that will come as we work ourselves into better shape this season.”  Rounding out the team scoring were St. Paul (78), Riverside (84), Centura (92), Arcadia-Loup City (107), Ravenna (118), Palmer (127), Twin River (138), and Fullerton, Central City, and St. Edward did not field enough runners to score in the team race.

The girls scored 81 points to finish in 4th place in the field of 12 teams.  Nebraska Christian won the meet with 19 points while Ravenna was a close second with 28 points.  Fullerton finished in third place with a total of 35 points.  “I was pleasantly surprised with how our girls finished as a team in this mee”, Trampe said.  “With four girls on our varsity team, every person counts, and we all performed well.  We need to continue to work hard in practice to get stronger and faster and we will have a good team this year.  I am excited to see how much we improve as the year progresses.”  Rounding out the team scoring were Arcadia-Loup City (88), St. Paul (95), and Riverside, Central City, Palmer, St. Edward, Centura, and Twin River did not field enough runners to score as a team.

Skylar Kokes was the top finisher for the girls as she placed 18th in a time of 26:25. Izzy Jeffres was right behind her in 19th place in a time of 26:41. The top 15 runners earn medals in the meet. “Izzy was in good position early on in the race and looked like she might finish in the top 15 but a sore hip slowed her over the last half of the race”, Trampe noted.  “I am just pleased that she finished the race.  Skylar is new to cross country and held back early in the race but really finished the race strong.  As she gains more experience, she will be a very good runner for us.  Both she and Izzy will win some medals this season.” Koryn Klein finished in 29th place in a time of 32:06 over the hilly course in St. Paul.  It was the first race for Klein in her career.  Elisabeth Bengston was the final scoring runner for the Chants as she finished 33rd in a time of 34:02.  “The course was nearly a half mile longer than last season and Elisabeth ran a faster time this year than she did last year”, Coach Trampe stated. “I was very pleased with the way she competed during the entire race.  Koryn got her first race on the toughest course we will run on all season.  I look for her to get better every week as she runs more races.  She is a very competitive person that works hard in practice as well as in meets.”

The boys had 5 runners finish in the top 15 and bring home medals from the meet.  Masaki Arisawa, an exchange student from Japan, was the top finisher for the Chants as he placed 6th in a time of 18:16 over the nearly 3-mile course. After Masaki the next four runners across the finish line were all Chant runners.  Elijah Pollard (7th in 19:02), Garret Severance (8th in 19:16), Owen Lane (9th in 19:23), and Grady Moudry (10th in 19:26) all finished within 24 seconds of each other.  “It was great to have all of these guys come across the finish line one right after another in this meet”, Trampe stated.  “Masaki is a great addition to our team as well as Owen.  I love the fact that our guys ran as a pack and finished that way now we just need the pack to close the gap between them and Masaki and we will have a very successful season.  The times that Grady, Garret, and Elijah ran this year were almost as fast as last year and the course was almost a half mile longer.  We are off to a great start and adding Masaki and Owen will only make us that much better.”  Hayden Kluthe and Brodie Klimek were the next runners to cross the finish line for the Chants.  Kluthe finished in a time of 20:25 for 21st place while Klimek was 23rd in a time of 20:34. “Hayden ran his second-best time ever at this meet and on the longest course they have had since we started coming to this meet”, Trampe noted.  “He was within a minute of his time from last season and looked good throughout the race.  We just need to have both him and Brodie close that gap between them and Grady. Brodie was within eight seconds of his time from last year which shows how much time he put into summer running to make himself better.  We have a lot of depth this year because of the work that our kids did over the summer and the new runners we have on the team.”  Also competing in the meet were Braden Bruha (42nd in 23:18), Gage Sintek (44th in 23:27), Isaac VanLeer (57th in 25:29), and Skyler Probst (60th in 25:45).  “I felt like all of our guys ran good races at the meet” Trampe said.  “Like all our kids Braden ran a time that was close to his time last season on a shorter course.  He looks stronger this season and I look for him to steadily improve.  Gage also had a nice day and ran one of his best races of his career.  He continues to improve each season and is a great teammate. Isaac is new to cross country and had to break in on a tough course.  He had been sick earlier in the week and that had an impact on his race.  As he gets healthy, he will finish higher. His performance in the early season practices indicate that he has some running talent.  Skyler continues to get better with every race he runs.  I am pleased with how hard he has been working to get into running shape.  He will get better as long as he continues to work hard in practice each day.”

The junior high teams had a successful day as well with 2 girls and 1 boy finishing in the top 10 and bringing home a medal.  Avery Bruha finished 2nd in the girls race in a time of 11:36 and was just 6 seconds out of first place.  Allison Wheeler was close behind Bruha as she finished 4th in a time of 11:43 over the 1.5-mile course.  Also competing for the girls was Sophie Zangger who finished 18th in a time of 17:27. Gavin Whited was the top finisher for the junior high boys as he placed 5th in a time of 10:25 to bring home a medal.  Conner Krcilek (24th in 12:25), Kyptan Scheideler (27th in 12:45), Jocob Medina (34th in 13:10), and Leo Wolf (37th in 13:39) also competed for the boys.  The girls did not score in the team race because they only had 3 runners, but the boys finished 6th in the team race with a score of 72 points.  Central City won the boys team race with 45 points while Nebraska Christian won the girls race with 10 points.  “I am excited with how our junior high kids competed today”, Coach Trampe commented. “I was not sure how we would do because a lot of them are new to cross country this year and I have not seen them compete.  However, I was excited to see how well they ran.  We have a lot of good young runners that will be very competitive if they keep working hard in practice.”