On Tuesday, a mere two days into the school year, several members of the Saint Mary’s cross country team kicked off the 2019 season at the Monte Vista Invitational in Danville. The Monte Vista Invitational, where the course is hilly and the weather is hot, features teams from Contra Costa County with big teams and big reputations.
“I like this meet,” said girl’s head coach Denis Mohun. “It’s a difficult course but also a good test early that lets us know how our summer went and where our fitness level is.”
The meet features 8 races, each run according to gender and grade. In the girl’s 11th grade (junior) race, Jordan Cornet scored a top 10 finish, placing 9th in 14:10 for the tough 2 mile course. Teammates Nan Wemmer and Olivia Lawson were next, placing 19th and 25th respectively. Fellow juniors Simone Rogers and Ashley Robarts followed in 46th and 49th place.
Sophomore Mallory Boell ran “very well” according to coach Mohun, placing 43rd in the 10th grade girls race. Senior co-captain Wiona Tan also competed at Monte Vista, placing 27th amongst 12th grade girls.
For the boys, captain Riley Hartney was the top runner for the Panthers, placing 20th overall in 12:28. Zax Lieske, who like Riley returns with varsity level experience from last season, ran 13:08 while placing 48th. A pair of sophomores, Jeffrey Norris and Ryan Painter, completed the racing for the Panthers. Ryan edged Jeffrey by a mere :02 seconds, covering the dry, challenging course in 13:42 to Jeffrey’s 13:44.
“Overall, it was a pretty good opening meet for our runners,” said longtime boys coach Jeff Rogers afterwards. “In no way were we ready to race just 2 days into the school year, but it was good to see our kids have to gut out a tough, hot race. Grit and toughness are definitely prerequisites for a successful season and Monte Vista requires that. Step one complete.”