Kirtland coach JP Moran couldn’t be more pleased with the progress his runners have made throughout the first few weeks of the cross country season.
The Hornets finished third in both the boys’ and girls’ races at the Grand Valley Invitational.
“Edgewood and Geneva were first and second on both sides, so we only lost to a couple of Division I schools, so I can’t be too disappointed about that,” Moran said. “Our top three girls all got awards, which is great, and Konnor Duncan and Colton Zanko both got ribbons.”
Duncan finished in 18:38 while Zanko came in at 19:00 to finish among the top 16.
Jake Grdadolnik (19:40), George Shuppe (23:13), Ian McGreal (21:10), Drew Schneider (21:35), Jonny Jackson (22:14), Nick Briggs (22:06), Kirk Brauer (24:23), Will Robertson (24:18) and Jeff Kusar (28:40) also competed for the Hornets.
“Our top three, Konnor, Colton and Jake, were very consistent,” Moran said. “Ian and Drew, our No. 4 and 5, they ran well. Nick gutted it out for sixth and Johnny Jackson, a freshman, was seventh. Nick Briggs has been hurt and he gutted it out tonight and he was sixth for our team. He did a nice job. Ian was fourth on the team. He ran great. Drew Schneider was fifth. He had a nice race.”
Lauren Snyder paced the girls with a time of 21:53 while her sister, Sydney Snyder, was right behind her in 22:03. Julie Namciu was third on the team with a time of 22:54.
The Hornets had a pack of girls come in a minute later, led by Ellie David in 24:24. Holly Samf finished in 24:30 and Mateja Mrva and Emily Crebs came in seconds later at 24:35 and 24:43, respectively.
“We have a lot of good competition for our top seven and the competition goes all the way into our top 10,” Moran said. “Every meet, everybody is competing for spots and everybody is pushing each other and we’re packing up real nice. It’s really helping us improve as a team having that competition and the fights for the varsity spots. our next pack we had 19th place, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 25th, and that was our No. 4 through 8 runner in that pack. They were all battling and working together the whole time. That was a great pack there to round out the top seven.”
Aimee Baldrey (25:04), Jordan Jontz (25:26), Zoe Gregory (27:52) and Schuyler South (37:48) also competed.
Overall, the girls have really improved their times and running as a pack has certainly helped their progress.
“We’re starting to see in the meets this year, if you look at our stats from last year, the span might be five minutes from our first runner to our fifth and now it’s two minutes,” Moran said. “The Snyders are still running in the 21s but now we’ve got a few people in the 22s and then we’ve got 23s and 24s in a big pack. Hopefully, we keep working at that and it gets us where we need to be in October.”
The Hornets return to action on Saturday when they travel to Cardinal for the Husky Invitational.