In just their second outing of the 2023 cross country season, the Highland Bulldogs boys and girls cross country teams are already showing positive steps toward productive campaign.
That much was evidenced last Saturday when the teams visited Granite City for the 50th annual Robinson/Lang Invitational at Wilson Park and Granite City High School.
It was a worthwhile trips for both clubs as the Bulldogs girls started the day strong with a fifth place finish in their division with 266 points behind Chatham Glenwood (35), Edwardsville, (61), Waterloo (76), and O’Fallon (101).
“For the girls, being fifth out of 20 teams there, that’s pretty big for us,” Highland coach Joe Shannon said. It put us ahead of two conference schools in Mascoutah and Triad and I was really positive about that.”
Peyton Frey led the HHS girls, medaling with a 25th place finish (19:44.50). Peyton Frey got a medal in 25th place, so that was really cool to see,” Shannon said.
Frey was followed Layna Powers in 57th place (2:27.60), Lola Schlarman in 66th place (21:41.10), Ava McPherson in 74th place (21:52.30), Elly Seger in 83rd (22:01.30) and Tarryn Keeney 84th place (22:03.00), and Rowan Passmore rounded out the top finishers in 96th place (22:34. 70).
Shannon was very pleased with the group’s overall showing in the three-mile race. “I think every girl that ran the race had a PR by at least 40 seconds (off their time) for the season (so far), so that means we’re moving up as a team,” Shannon said.
In the boys division, Highland placed 14th overall as a team with 391 points. That was a nice finish considering tbe Bulldogs were without one of their top runners in Avery Brock who was unavailable for the meet.
“Avery Brock was at a wedding, that ended up taking like 60-70 points of our score away because of Avery (being gone) but I was pumped about a few of the performances (we got),” Shannon said.
Dallas Mancinas paced the boys finishing 39th overall (16:05.40). Christian Knobloch also was solid, placing 42nd (16:09.00) in the race. “Christian Knobloch hit an all-time PR and that’s the best time he’s ever had in high school, so that was good to see, and Dallas ran a really good race,” Shannon said.
Sophomore Donnie Miller also had a strong outing with 64th place finish (16:34.36 in just his second high school race. “Donnie Miller is a first-year runner, so his second race of his high school career, he goes 16:30 and that’s a minute quicker than last week (at Bethalto),” Shannon said.
Aydin Roach (118th place) and Jack Grotefendt (169th place) comprised the other top finishers for the Highland boys.
All in all, Shannon felt it was a pretty good weekend for both teams.
“It was a good Saturday and it was fun and I always love going over there,” Shannon said.