Cross country previews regional course at UTA meet


Courtesy of Jim McGuinness

Lovejoy Cross Country begins there yearly end of summer time trial.

Joe Vastano, Staff Reporter

The Leopard Cross Country teams have started the 2016 season. The next meet for the runners is the University of Texas at Arlington Gerald Richey Invitational on Sept. 10.

The Gerald Richey Invitational is going to be held in Grand Prairie, and although it is early in the season, the Leopards will get a chance to practice for regionals as the course for Saturday’s meet will be the same as the location for the regional meet.

The team competed in the Plano Invitational meet on Aug. 27. This meet included top teams such as Frisco Wakeland, Allen, and Prosper. The boys varsity team took first place, and the JV boys took second. The girls’ varsity got ninth place and the JV team finished ninth as well.

“There was a couple guys who had some races that if we can get them up to where they should be and what they are showing in workouts, we can get them up there,” head coach Greg Christensen said. “But there really is not much to improve on (for next meet), just keep rolling where we are at right now and we will be fine.”

The boys team went into the season ranked as preseason number one team in the state of Texas, according to Texas Milesplit, and they remained at the top after week one.

Senior captain Grant Tiff was awarded boys 5A runner of the week as he finished second in the Plano Invitational with a time of 16:29, only 7 seconds behind Allen’s Jake Johnson.

“It means a lot to me [to win the award], especially since it was coming from, but I was really excited after seeing that I have an opportunity to achieve something like that through cross country,” senior captain Grant Tiff said.

The other boys top finishers were Junior Ryan Spruell at 16:58, (sixth overall), sophomore Brett Peterson at 16:38:30 (seventh overall), freshman Brady Laboret at 16:49 (ninth overall), junior captain Ryan Brands at 17:15 (16th overall), and junior captain Bradley Davis at 17:17 (17th overall).

“I think we [as a team] need to improve on starting smarter throughout our races because, I think a few of the girls started off too fast, and then they slowed down during the race and a lot of us caught up to them so I think when that happens we need to do a better job at staying as a group and just pushing each other through that,” senior captain Shaelyn Ballard said.

The girls top runners were junior captain Emily Gueller (21:40), sophomore Olivia Bullock (21:58), freshman Sophia Estes (21:59), senior captain Shaelyn Ballard (22:03), and freshman Reagan Matacale (22:08).

“I think [the teams], from what we’ve seen, really matched our expectations because everyone has worked so hard over the summer and have had really good summers,” Christensen said. “I seem to say it every year about this time but we’ve really had a good summer of work. The course was a little long, but we destroyed some good teams and that was fun to see.”