The Race Must Go On

Cross Country successful at first meets of season


Image by Glenn Roberts

The Varsity girls cross country team was awarded a plaque. They placed first overall in the Temple Pro-Fit Invitational on Friday, Sept. 2.

Grouped together in the bus, chattering nervously, the team looks out the windows at the pouring rain and the lightning. They couldn’t see how they would be able to run. But as the rain let up and the other teams emerged from their shelter, they cheered. They had driven three hours to be here, after all. They were ready to race.

The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams travelled to The Woodlands, outside of Houston, on Aug. 26 for the “Friday Night Lights” invitational. The night race was the first of the season.

“I thought it went well,” junior Maddie Marrone said. “The rain was fun to run in, it was a good experience for the team, and we did well.”

The runners were unsure that they would be able to run. Marrone said she kept expecting the meet to get called off and was worried it would happen in the middle of her race.

“It was lightning,” freshman Isabella Trujillo said. “But I knew that we went so far, so I didn’t think that we would not not run.”

It was the first time McNeil had attended the invitational. It didn’t start until sunset, so the races were run in the dark, and the rain made the course muddy and slippery.

“I liked [running in the dark] because I couldn’t tell that I was tired,” sophomore Abbey Hobbs said. “You can’t really tell how fast you’re going, and mentally you’re like, I’m probably not tired.”

The varsity girls won third overall out of 30 teams, with Marrone finishing in third and senior Larissa Herold placing fifth. The JV girls placed ninth out of 33 teams, led by freshmen Trujillo and Ariel Neal.

“It was scary, but it was fun,” Trujillo said. “I was thinking that it can’t be too bad, it will be done in less than twenty minutes.”

The varsity boys were led to eighth place overall by senior Ben Duong, who placed 12th. The JV boys did not come in the top 10 overall, but they ran hard in a race dominated by The Woodlands High School, whose runners claimed places one through ten.

On Sept. 2, the team travelled to Temple for the Pro-Fit XC Invitational. There, the teams conquered a hilly, winding course.

For the varsity girls, three runners medaled, with Marrone in eighth, Herold in 11th, and senior Haley Birt in 12th. In a great group effort, the team was meet champions.

The JV girls team was successful too, with Trujillo the champion and two others in the top ten, for a team finish in second place.

On the boys’ side, varsity placed fourth and JV came in fifth.

While the cross country teams have been enjoying their early successes, they know there is still work to do. As Trujillo said, they are looking forward to “just getting better.”