While a talented Wyoming Indian High School squad won the meet and placed seven runners in the top 10, the Grizzlies placed four runners in the 10-20 positions, led by junior Michael Bernhisel, who placed 10th with a time of 18:42.
Hot on Bernhisel’s heels was Grizzly sophomore Nate Davidson of Burlington, who placed 11th with a time of 18:48.
Finishing together were the Rocky Mountain duo of senior Lance Schatz of Burlington and freshman Casey Banks, who placed 13th and 14th, respectively, Schatz at 19:21, Banks at 19:21.5.
Sophomore Jake Loyning finished 21st with a time of 20:07, junior Brady Winland 25th at 20:59, senior Jackson Stephens 26th at 21:16, Burlington sophomore Quinten Hibbert 30th at 22:28 and freshman Tanner Coleman 31st at 22:47. There were 37 runners in the field.
Wyoming Indian won the meet with 12 points. Rocky had 44, Lovell 46 and Ft. Washakie 77.
“They dominated the meet,” coach John Bernhisel said of the Chiefs. “They had seven runners ahead of our first runner, and I’ve got as good a team as I’ve had in 10 years. Hats off to Wyoming Indian for putting together such a great team. I was pleased to finish second, and I’m hopeful of placing second at State.”
Bernhisel said the Ethete course is a good course for runners.
“It’s a fast course with no big hills,” he said. “The weather was almost perfect. It was a good day. We ran as hard as I could have hoped. Michael hadn’t run a meet in three weeks after messing up his foot, and for Brady it had been even longer.
“It’s good to have both of them back for this important week. We’re going into State as healthy as we could hope to be.”
The Lady Grizzlies didn’t have enough runners to qualify as a team, but sophomore sisters Kelly and Cassy Vezain both ran well and placed in the top dozen runners. Kelly placed 10th with a time of 25:06, Cassy 11th at 25:20.
Wyoming Indian won the girls meet with 20 points. Lovell was second with 27 points Thermopolis third with 34.
Bernhisel took six runners to the Joliet Invitational Saturday morning in Montana. The meet featured nine complete teams and four others with runners, and the Grizz placed second. Red Lodge won the meet with 55 points, followed by Rocky with 87 and Colstrip with 89.
“It was a really nice morning Saturday. We just needed one more meet, especially for Michael and Brady, who missed so much time,” the coach said.
Lance Schatz was the top Rocky runner on the three-mile course, placing 13th with a time of 18:16, with Nate Davidson right with him in 14th, also at 18:16. Michael Bernhisel placed 16th with a time of 18:31, Casey Banks 18th at 18:34, Jake Loyning 46th at 19:38 and Winland 66th at 20:50. There were 95 runners in the field.
“We placed four in the top 20 at a meet with 13 teams,” Bernhisel said.
The Grizzlies will wrap up the 2011 season at the Wyoming State Cross Country Meet this Saturday in Douglas. The Class 2A boys race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., the 2A girls race at 12:40.
Running for the Grizz will be Michael Bernhisel, Davidson, Schatz, Banks, Loyning, Winland and Jackson Stephens. Representing the Lady Grizz will be Kelly and Cassy Vezain.
“The weather looks good,” Coach Bernhisel said. “We did well last year, so I’m encouraged. I’m excited.”
By David Peck