By Lenny Sementi
This past week was not for the weak at heart if you were doing anything outside and last Saturday was not any different with the thermometer reading upper 80’s before 9:00 a.m. with a heat index of near 100. That however didn’t deter Tuscola’s cross country teams. The running Warriors took on not only the oppressive heat but also a challenging course through the countryside surrounding Paris High School at the 16 team Doc Acklin Memorial Invitational boasting over 130-total runners.
Josiah Hortin led the way for coach Adam Crutchley’s boys squad ending the day in third overall out of 71 entrants. The super sophomore eclipsed the extended 3.09 course in 17 minutes and 13 seconds edging a pack of three SJO runners in the final 200 yards in a race that actually had the fastest pace in the top ten in the history of the event. Freshman Lia Patterson was out front for coach Lacey Diaz’s girls team. The freshman ended her day in the top ten taking tenth overall with a time of 22:03 holding off a pack of five runners in the final 200 yards.
Hortin collected a medal as an individual and joined with his buddies to secure third place team hardware as well. The Warriors were knotted with Newton in second with 62 points but fell to third due to criteria. Sophomore classmates Jackson Barrett and Will Foltz were next in line occupying eighth and thirteenth place both under the 18 minute mark. Seniors Logan Wallace and Riley Nolan were next in line a few spots back in fourteenth and twenty-third to round out the scoring. Mason Veach who was one spot behind Nolan touring the course with newcomer Bryce Graves.
“The Invite was a great first meet to help us figure out where our fitness is at going into the season,” stated coach Crutchley. “It was very warm, and it looks like the course was closer to a 5K than a three mile run, but with all those things considered I think our boys ran very well. While the heat was certainly oppressive, the boys all stayed in a great mindset. I reminded them several times that everybody has to run the same course under the same conditions no matter what school they’re from. There were no complaints, just hard work. St. Joe was a little out of our reach but we did beat Newton which is another team right on the bubble for a state berth.”
Patterson’s fellow freshman Rylie Vanausdoll was the number two runner for coach Diaz’s girls entering the final chute in seventeenth with a time of 23:21. Next up were senior Skylar Wilkins and Addyson Ring who scored in the third and fourth position for the Lady Warriors while Lauren Woods rounded out the scoring. Makenzie Hershberger and Reggan Smith served as the alternates.