On Thursday, September 13, the NCOE Junior High Cross Country team took to course at our very own Dave Gray Invitational which featured runners from several southern Illinois schools. The Dave Gray gave several opportunities, as there are 25 medals and two team trophies given out in each of the four races. The Cardinals dominated the event, taking 25 total medals and three-1st place team trophies.
The races began with the junior varsity girls race, and the NCOE girls put together a tremendous performance with every runner finishing in the top 25 and receiving a medal. Mattie McArthy dashed ahead of the field finishing in 1st place with an impressive time of 7:52. She was followed closely by Reagan Goebel who finished in 3rd place with a time of 8:04 on the 1.2 mile course. The rest of team finished almost simultaneously but was led by 4th grader, Amelia Douglass, who finished 14th with a time of 8:36. The rest finished as follows: Finlee Hite: 17th place- 8:38, Alexis Rush: 19th place- 8:40, Kate Vollman: 21st place- 8:44, and Olivia Sutton: 25th place- 8:55. With all runners in the top 25, Coach Goebel knew NCOE had a good shot at a team trophy. The results would end up very close as Pope County took 2nd place with a team score of 55, but NCOE edged them out by one point with a score 54 to take 1st place in the event.
The junior varsity boys would compete in the next race and they were led by 4th and 5th graders Greyson Goebel and Max Riggs. They would finish in 6th and 9th place respectively with times of 7:55 and 8:03. Wyatt Wells and Brody Warren would also finish within the medal ranks in 19th and 23rd place with times of 8:28 and 8:42. Jaxen Simmons and Kaygen Basinger would finish up for the Cards in 38th and 41st place with times of 10:23 and 10:42. The JV boys team finished 4th in the race.
The third race of the evening was the varsity girls race and again NCOE represented themselves extremely well with all seven runners taking home a medal. Ebany Jolley was the lead runner for the Cards and finished in 5th place with a time of 15:21. She was followed closely by Bree Vollman who finished in 9th place with a time of 15:54 on the 2.05 mile varsity course. The rest of the squad put together a solid performance finishing as follows: Lydia Vinyard: 12th place- 16:57, Amanda Bradley: 14th place- 17:39, Kate Bond: 16th place- 17:51, Izzy Dolden: 17th place- 18:36, and Cora Humphrey: 19th place- 18:57. With such a high quality performance, the Cardinals would go on to win their second 1st place trophy of the year with a team score of 56 points. St. Joe would finish closely behind with 59 points.
In the final race for varsity boys, the NCOE boys dominated the race. They took four of the top seven places in the race and all seven runners finished in the top 16. The Cards were led by a trio of strong runners: Preston Long, Mason Johnson, and Hunter Mayberry. They would finish in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place with times of 13:16, 13:26, and 13:27. A few runners later, Caleb Prather crossed the line in 7th place with a time of 13:51. The three remaining Cardinals practically finished as follows: Lane Connaway: 11th place- 14:35 , Joel Hortin: 12th place- 14:43, and Braden Mendoza: 16th place- 15:39. With such great finishes the Cards guaranteed themselves a team trophy. They would finish with an incredible score of 27 points topping nearest competitor, St. Joe Olney, who had 46 points.
The NCOE squad also ran on Tuesday, September 18, at the Harrisburg Invitational. Check next week to see the results.