Independence’s cross country teams raised the bar at the Cardinal Invitational on Saturday as nearly all of the Blue Devils set new personal best times.
“Everyone was excited about their performances,” said Independence boys coach Vern Blaze. “The boys were motivated to run well, as they know this course is the site of the conference meet in three weeks.”
The Blue Devils used Saturday’s invitational as a primer for the Oct. 15 Chagrin Valley Conference meet.
“Their goal on Oct. 15 is to improve on their performance from last year’s conference meet and be much more competitive in the Valley Division this year,” Blaze said. “The results from this meet are a great confidence builder for them to accomplish that.”
Independence’s boys’ team placed ninth overall.
All seven varsity runners set new PRs led by Kyle McGovern, who placed 22nd with a time of 17:52. James Kitagawa finished in 18:58, Brian Angyal ran a time of 19:00, Carter Peters finished in 19:36, and Dylan Wang completed the race in 19:49. Nathan Lu and Tate McGovern ran times of 20:05 and 20:13, respectively.
“We switched around our daily training regimen this season and the results are there,” Blaze said. “Every team member that ran on the high school team last year has run faster at each of these same meets this year; some multiple minutes faster, except for one runner at one meet this year. He ran it just a little slower this year than last year, but every other meet he too has gotten faster this year.”
Independence’s girls’ team competed with just three runners so the Blue Devils didn’t score as a team.
Alana Nowak placed 22nd with a time of 21:34 and Kayla Hujarski finished in 26:47. Ellie Polter ran her season-best time of 29:11.
“The ladies are working hard and times are starting to drop,” said Independence girls coach Connie Aquilano.