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Badger cross country season off to promising start

 
August 30, 2021

Connor Alexander, photo by Levi Bonnell
The Badger cross country team traveled to Libby Friday to run its first full meet of the season at Cabinet View Golf Course. Libby High School hosted and set up a beautiful course, measuring a full 5k (3.1 miles), mostly grass, and cooler temperatures combined to make it an exceptional and fast morning for everybody.

Notable participants included, from Montana; Eureka, Whitefish, Big Fork, Frenchtown and Columbia Falls, and from Idaho; Coeur d'Alene High, Timberlake and Lakeland.

The day off with girls varsity, with junior Ceci Roemer and senior Camille Ussher the only Badgers running.

"We're still dealing with eligibility issues such as kids not having enough practices, family vacations and work schedules," coach Tyler Warner said, "and so all the races were a little undersized."

Both Ceci and Camille started out with the front pack and stayed about the same position for most of the race. Camille fell off the pack midway through after going out very aggressively in the first mile, but rebounded in the last 200m, catching several girls to finish right behind Ceci.

Ceci finished eighth with a time of 22:15 and Camille came in at 22:25, a personal record by three seconds.

"It is very encouraging to see both girls running this well so early in the season, and I think both girls were even a little impressed with themselves," Warner said. "Camille has put in a lot of work in between track season and now, and it showed. She had quite possibly the best finish I've ever seen her perform in cross country. She found gears I don't think she had the previous three years. The summer miles and workouts are already benefiting these two."

Senior Connor Alexander led the way in the boys race for Bonners Ferry, staying with the front crew for most of the way. A pack of three Coeur d'Alene underclassmen took off, setting a pretty tough pace, but Connor held on very well.

He finished sixth with a time of 17:26, just 15 seconds off his personal best!

Justin Strugar was next across the finish line for the Badgers, coming in at 20:28, over a 20 second PR for Justin. Wyatt Smith came in at 21:57, a solid showing for him in the first race of his sophomore season.

In the JV races, senior Liliana Brinkman demonstrated excellent composure and excellent running form.

"She's come a long way, running wise," Warner said.

Brinkman finished sixth in the girls JV race with a time of 31:19.

Three Badgers finished their first ever high school cross country race at Libby August 27; freshman Trina Johnson, girls JV, finished in 35:51 and juniors Ian Williams and Chase Xitco running boys JV came in at 26:45 and 27:30 respectively. Both took their coaching really well and adjusted as the race went on.

"It's a promising start considering how few runners we had available, but as more kids become eligible we should be fairly competitive," Warner said. "Ceci and Camille finished ahead of the first runner from Timberlake and Connor also finished well ahead of the Timberlake runners who made the trip. I suspect they're also dealing with summer jobs, vacations and other eligibility factors, but it is nonetheless encouraging to see our team doing so well this early."

The Badgers travel to Kiwanis Park in Post Falls for the Post Falls River run at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 2, and to the Farragut Invitational hosted by Timberlake at Farragut State Park at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, September 11. They host the Bonners Ferry Open at 9 a.m. Saturday, September 18.

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