This past Saturday, all of the hills, tempos and long runs of summer conditioning finally gave way to the opportunity for 19 athletes to toe the line for the first time this season at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio in the Cross Country Pre-Season Invitational. The races provided a glimpse of the reconfigured state championship course that athletes hope to experience again in November.
The tone was set in the first race of the day where a Centerville varsity team of 9 athletes tested their early season mettle in a field of 31 teams. The weather was appropriately warm for the mid-August Saturday, and before the sun climbed too high in the cloudless sky, the field of 280 runners were well into their first mile of racing.
The CGXC Varsity squad raced well and showed signs of their potential as they placed 4th. The team was led by freshman Mia Robillard, making her impressive high school debut by taking 5th overall in a competitive field. Also scoring for the Elks were senior Dalia Einstein, 28th, senior Alex Jackson, 35th, freshman Alayna Skidmore, 53rd, and senior Emma O’Brien, 61st.
The team’s second effort of the day saw additional outstanding performances by the 10 CGXC athletes in the 21 team Open Race. Led by freshman Brooke Strobel, who placed 9th, the team placed 3rd overall. Freshman Kiersten Knell, 13th, senior Layla Emmert, 17th, senior Leah Vanbysterveldt, 18th, and freshman Peri Rhodes, 21st rounded out the scoring five.
The entire team moves on to compete at the Northmont Invitational this coming Saturday, August 24th in another preview opportunity as Northmont will also host the GWOC Championship. In the meantime, the team continues to build on a strong summer of conditioning and the momentum generated in the first weeks of the season.
Good luck this Saturday, ladies! We’ll see you at the finish line…