By Lenny Sementi
Head cross country coach Dustin Dees and his assistant Shannon Smith were all smiles Saturday following the Spartan Invite. The duo took 14 runners north to St, Joe, seven boys and seven girls and returned home with 14 season best times.
Senior JD Barret turned a personal best for the boys on the three mile road course leading them to a ninth place finish out of 29 teams. Brynn Tabeling was tops for the coaches on the girls’ side, posting a personal best, as well, and helping her respective team to a 15th place effort in a race that boasted eight state-ranked squads.
“Obviously, JD had an outstanding day but in addition to that Brynn Tabeling runs a 19:50, Noah Woods is only 3 seconds behind JD, and Ashton Smith is knocking on the door of a sub 20 time,” commented the coach.
Barrett took nearly 30-seconds off his best time finishing in 16 minutes and 20 seconds to take 26th overall out of 190 runners. Teammate and classmate Noah Woods was right on his heels crossing the line 3 seconds later capturing 27th place, while erasing more than 45 seconds from his career best. Junior Mason Day went sub 17 for the first time in his life entering the chute in 16:49.
Jake Dyer ended the day in the top half of the field taking 88th, clocking in with a 17:37. The fifth and final scorer for the Warriors was freshman Logan Wallace who entered the 17’s for the first time in his young career turning in a 17:59. Coach Dees’ alternates Nick Woods and Jordan Middleton took big steps forward as well both posting season best efforts with a 18:37 and 19:29 respectively.
Tabeling ended up in 37th, breaking the 20-minute mark by covering the three miles in 19:50. Senior Ashton Smith was next in the two hole turning in a personal best 20:43. Hannah Hornaday was next edging her teammate Kenzie Heckler by a nose. The duo crossed at the same time both posting personal best times of 22:49.
Hannah Lemay was the final scorer for the Lady Warriors ending her day with a PR of 23:44. Kyla Gough and Faithlynn Daugherty both turned in their best efforts to date with a 24:02 and a 24:15 as alternates.
“It was a great day to be a Warrior runner,” stated Dees. “We challenged them, and they responded with season best times across the board. The weather was perfect, kids were focused and we came ready to compete. Our hope is to bottle up some of that confidence and determination from Spartan Classic and use it as we get closer to CIC and Regional time.”