Cross country team hosts home meet

Joe Vastano, Staff Reporter

The Leopard’s cross country team is hosting their annual home meet, the Lovejoy Fall Festival,  on Sept. 24 at Myers Park,  the same location as the district meet so it will give the teams another chance to familiarize themselves with the course..

“We train on hills just about every other week and practice them a lot and Myers Park is our home meet,” junior captain Ryan Brands said. “We do it every year and we run it twice a season and so we will have some good practice before district.”

The Fall Festival features a total of eight different races. There will be two separate divisions for the varsity teams. Division one will include large schools with a boys race, followed by a girls. Division two will contain small schools and again will split into boys and girls. The junior varsity division will be merged together with small schools and large schools running together, but will be split up according to gender.

“It will be a pretty hard meet,” junior captain Bradley Davis said. “We got some hills in [Wednesday] to prepare for [the course].

Davis said that the past few meets have shown him that the team is one of the best in class 5A.

“The team is running great, and I think this will be one of the biggest meets in Texas, so I expect us all to be competitive,” Davis said. “I just expect us to keep going and producing what we know we are capable of. ”

Some of the top names competing in this meet are Allen, Frisco Wakeland, Dallas Jesuit, Prosper, Wylie East, and Plano West.

Last meet, at the Gerald Richey Invitational in Grand Prairie, the boy’s team took first place with six finishers in the top 10. The girl’s team took fourth place. Top finishers for the boys were senior captain Grant Tiff, second place at 15:58, junior Ryan Spruell at 16:23 for third, Brands at 16:23.70 for seventh, sophomore Brett Pedersen barely a step behind Brands at 16:23.90 for eighth, and freshman Brady Laboret in ninth with a time of 16:35.

The girls top runners were sophomore Carson Hockersmith, coming off an injury to finish ninth with a time of 20:37, sophomore Avery Silliman at 21st with a time of 21:20, junior captain Emily Gueller at 24th with a time of 21:33, and freshman Sophia Estes at 26th with a time of 21:35.

Girls varsity assistant coach Carly Littlefield said the team is “running really well as a unit.”

“I think at our next meet what I’m expecting to see is us closing the gap on one of the teams we are really trying to beat at regionals,” Littlefield said. “ think we will close that gap a little more at our Lovejoy meet and gain a little more confidence as we narrow down to the end of the season.”