BONNERS FERRY — On Sept. 15, the Badgers cross country team made an early morning trip to Hayden Canyon for a 5K meet against 27 schools. With the large amount of athletes in attendance, the race officials had to make accomodations so that the racers could compete fairly and relatively uncrowded.
“The course itself was one of the few meets we have that doesn’t have a major loop, but instead made sort of an ugly figure eight with a bit of backtracking here and there,” said Coach Tyler Warner. “There were two notable uphill sections and it featured a lot of turns and straight stretches and was a very technical course.”
The boys junior varsity race consisted of a total of 372 athletes in attendance, forcing the Coeur d’Alene hosts to divide their race into two races which were scored together by the time the boys finished.
“Every race was huge and bottle-necked in a couple of locations, causing some bumping and feet shuffling, but the races tended to separate out very well by the end,” said Warner.
The varsity races ran their normal respective gender groups, but were separated into categories of ‘large’ and ‘small’ groups. Abby Gorton finished sixth overall and finished in fourth place in the small schools race, for example.
“The girls JV squad ran very well. Mya Andrejczak made her return after missing some time due to injury and ran a personal record (PR),” said Warner. “Stormy Fahey also ran her first official timed 5K race. She ran an unofficial race last week at Farragut, but her time this week was nearly five minutes faster than that.”
“Brian Blackmore ran in his first high school race on Saturday and performed quite well, posting the sixth fastest time of the day for the Badgers,” said Warner.
“Abby Gorton continued her dominant season by coming in fourth in the small schools race and sixth overall,” said Warner. “Immediately after the race she told me she felt really good and liked how she ran especially against larger schools. Camille is continuing to push her limits and find new horizons. Madi and Emily ran together for the entirety of the race and used this to their advantage in several situations.”
According to Warner, Hunter Smith was twelfth overall in the small schools division, and was the second IML runner to finish behind Priest River’s Cameron Parks by less than one second. Smith had a really good race and has been working hard to keep up with the pace set by Priest River’s two senior boys who are looking to take the number one and two spots at Districts. Connor Alexander and Levi Bonnell continue to develop well as freshmen. Sophomores Ty Grigg and Tyler Lucas have provided a steady core as Sam Gorton and Hunter Smith led the way. Austin Donn should be healthy and running again this week at Priest River.
In team scoring Girls JV was seventh out of eight complete teams. Girls Varsity was sixth of ten complete teams. Boys Varsity finished fifth out of 14 teams. Most notably in team scoring, the boys were the top IML team, beating sixth place Timberlake by five points.
“Timberlake was not at full strength and is still missing a couple of runners, but so were we,” said Warner. “This is my first win over Timberlake in any varsity race as a head coach.
“Even though I’m excited for the team getting a straight up win over Timberlake, I remind the team that the Tigers have some injured guys that are very good that haven’t run very much yet. We still have reason to be excited, but must continue to work hard to make that happen again when we host districts on Oct. 18.”