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Badgers struggle with late season injuries

 
September 24, 2021

A Levi Bonnell photo of Connor Alexander running
earlier this season at Post Falls.
On Saturday, September 18, the Badger's cross country team hosted a 5k meet at Bonners Ferry High School. The weather brought light drizzling rain all morning, but not the torrential downpour they had feared. Six schools attended; the entire Intermountain League plus 5A Coeur d'Alene high school.

"We received rave reviews on the course that includes the 'Badger Trail,' a gravel path behind the high school that was developed using funds from the High 5 Grant the community won a couple of years ago," coach Tyler Warner said.

Illness and injury sidelined many athletes for the meet. Coeur d'Alene was the only team able to field a full girls team of at least five runners in either girls race and in the boys race there were three complete varsity and JV teams.

Coeur d'Alene took top honors in all but the varsity girl's race, won by McKenna Kozeluh, CdA Charter, with a time of 19:43, but there were a number of outstanding Badger performances in spite of the rainy weather.

In team scoring, the Badgers finished third in the boys varsity race, the only race in which the Badgers could field a full team.

The highlight of the day was Connor Alexander's 17:20 second place finish.

"We've noticed the last couple of weeks that his turnover, the frequency which his feet make contact with the ground, was slowing late in the last couple of races, so this week we focused on him having 'quick feet,' especially at the end of workouts," Warner said. "It's been encouraging seeing the results happen this quickly and we'll continue working on that going forward."

Levi Bonnell earned a PR with a 19:25.8 finish for 16th place, as did Wyatt Smith, who came in 24th at 20:46.

"Levi is a great team guy and a team leader, it's awesome seeing guys who love watching their teammates succeed have their own triumphs," Warner said. "Wyatt is extremely coachable, he's always asking for how he can improve and he's been putting those pieces together really well so far. He's been getting PRs on difficult courses, so with hard work I expect those times to improve even more."

Justin Strugar finished 22nd at 20:23 and Colin Fairchild finally got his first race under his belt after joining the team a little late in the season, finishing 23rd with a 20:32 time. Carson Dineen posted his fastest time of the season, 24:00, finishing 28th.

Coeur d'Alene sophomore Jacob King won the race with a 17:07 time, and Coeur d'Alene won in team scoring with 21 points, followed by Timberlake, 49, and Bonners Ferry. 68.

Ian Williams and Chase Xitco both had PR's in the boys JV race, with Ian coming in at 24:57 and 19 place, and Chase 23rd at 27:23.

Coeur d'Alene put the first three JV runners across the line, led by senior Jonathan Perkins at 20:26, and CdA led in team scoring with 26 points to Timberlake's 38 and Kellogg's 61.

In girl's varsity, only two Badgers ran, and the finished 15th and 16th, Leah Moellmer with a time of 25:15 and Jayden Byars at 27:33.

Three Badgers ran in the girl's JV race, with Lilianna Brinkman leading the way with a season best time of 30:10 for a sixth place finish, followed by Trina Johnson, posted an overall PR of 30:51 for a seventh place finish. Elizabeth Bourassa came in 11th at 36:03.

Kira Wood, Coeur d'Alene, was first to the line at 24:09, followed by three teammates.

"For any of these kids to have PR's or season best times on this course is fairly noteworthy," Warner said. "About three quarters of the first mile is flat with some hills, and the third mile is 95-percent downhill. The second mile is what makes the difference, because it is a mix of uphill and downhill and technical turns. At this point we'd rather be experiencing these illnesses and injuries early in the season, as it gives us time to recover before districts at the end of October. Late season injuries are a little more difficult to deal with, so while we would have liked to have had a stronger team showing at home, I'm happy with the individual performances and the team's willingness to roll with the punches and still post quick times."

The Badgers travel to Kellogg September 30.

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