1A cross country teams compete at district

The boy teams from Prairie Valley, Saint Jo and Gold-Burg line up at the start of the race.

Area runners from 1A schools competed on Wednesday at the district cross country meet for a chance to qualify for the regional meet.
In the end, the Saint Jo boy’s and the Prairie Valley girls team qualified along with two girls from Bellevue and one boy from Prairie Valley.
Taking place at Pelham Park in Bowie under cold and wet conditions, along with only the top two teams qualifying for the regional meet due to COVID-19, it was a challenge for every runner.
The Lady Bulldogs finished second overall and were led by Karagan Ritchey, who finished eighth overall with a time of 15:41. Her teammates were not far behind with Molly Gilleland finishing 11th, Hailey Winkler finishing 15th, Cassy Atteberry finishing 16th and Veronica Gutierrez finishing 17th.
Coach Jeannie Carpenter was proud her team was able to qualify for the fifth year in a row despite all of her girls also playing volleyball.
“We knew Slidell had a loaded team and we knew with only two teams advancing this year, we were going to have to be at our best,” Carpenter said. “I’m extremely proud of these girls and how hard they work.”
The Panthers finished second as a team and were led by Collin Thomas who finished second with a time of 19:36. Kile Thurman joined him on the medal stand finishing fifth while teammate Noble Koelzer (13th), Josh Vogel (14th) and Brice Durham (20th) contributed as well.
Coach Lyndon Cook was proud his team powered through the tough conditions to make it back to the regional meet for the second straight season.
“Taking a team to regionals in back-to-back years is really a product of us having some talented athletes that have bought into the program and are putting their team first,” Cook said. “Two of our five had never run cross country before this season and both wound up in the top 20 at district and that anchored us to being able to get out of district again.”
The Bellevue girl’s team finished third overall nine points behind the Lady Bulldogs.
The team was led by Sky-Lar Embry who qualified individually by finishing fourth with a time of 15:13. Teammate Grace Martin joined her in qualifying for the regional meet finishing ninth with a time of 15:48.
Among the top five runners for the Lady Eagles included Austin Ford (14th), Cirstin Allen (24th) and Kaylee Trail (25th).
The Prairie Valley boy’s team finished fourth overall.
Tyler Winkler qualified for the regional meet individually for the second straight year, finishing fourth overall with a time of 20 minutes flat.
“Tyler has done a great job,” Coach Seth Stephens said. “He jumped several places from last year so I’m proud of him and now we’re focusing on getting ready for regionals and hopefully he’ll have his best race of the season there.”
The top five finishers for the Bulldogs also included Michael Cole (15th), Dayton Neugebaur (16th), Issac Yeargin (21st) and Zak Smith (24th).
The Bellevue boy’s team finished fifth overall and were led by Jason Gill who finished 19th with a time of 23:37. Among the top five finishers for the Eagles included Terrance Perry finishing 22nd, Josh Benson finishing 27th, Sam Innes finishing 29th and Colton Shook finishing 30th.
Some schools did not have enough runners to fill out a five person team and ran individually. From Gold-Burg Shadie Whitaker finished 23rd in the girls race. In the boy’s race Gideon Hellinger finished 26th, Jacob Tanner finished 28th and Rykir Evans finished 33rd.
From Forestburg, Justynne Roller overcame a shoe malfunction at the start to finish 18th overall.
The regional meet is scheduled for Nov. 9-10 at the Jesse Owens Memorial Complex in Dallas.

To see results for all high school individual runners, pick up a copy of weekend edition of the Bowie News.