The Wyoming High School State Championship meet wasn’t the best day that Lovell’s cross country team could have hoped for, but it did have its moments.
“I saw a lot of our runners improve their times from the last time we ran this course,” said Coach Caleb Sanders. “Although we didn’t achieve our team goals several runners improved their times and met their own goals.”
The much-anticipated meet was held in Douglas on Oct. 22. The team ran the same course earlier in the year and set a goal to improve their times across the board with some of the top runners like Colin May and Kim Shumway hoping for a title wins.
Defending state champion Colin May had his work cut out for him facing stiff competition in the top of the field. Coming in 12th place, May was a full minute off his time last year at 19:10.97 and close to two minutes behind the frontrunner Alejandro Garcia of Pine Bluffs/Burns, who provided serious competition for entire field at 17:41.03.
“I was proud of Colin, he had a good season,” said Sanders. “Being able to break a course record earlier this season was a highlight for him that he can always hang his hat on.”
Several boys improved their times over their previous run on the same course. Freshman AJ Dickson placed 19th out of a field of 63 runners with a time of 19:32.84.
“AJ improved quite a bit,” said Sanders. “Last time he ran that course in 21:16, this time he had an near two minute improvement in his time. He was one of the highlights of the meet.”
Sanders has been impressed with Dickson all season, oftentimes commenting how he runs a “smart race” and sets “high goals for himself.”
Michael Steiner also beat his previous time of 25:54 with a time of 23:37.59.
“I was happy for Michael, I really liked the way he finished his season,” said Sanders.
Mysen McArthur shaved about a minute and a half off his previous time of 22:29 at 20:59.13.
Derek Phelps also improved his time by nearly three minutes at 27:35.16.
Jesse Bassett and Tony Rodriquez ran well considering they only starting racing a few weeks ago after their golf season ended. They both turned in respectable times with Bassett at 23:24.51 and Rodriquez at 21:12.55.
According to Sanders, their participation helped the boys place sixth out of nine teams.
“Tony and Jesse only had a few weeks of racing so I really appreciate them coming out and helping the team,” said Sanders.
Sophomore Kim Shumway also faced stiff competition at the top of the girls’ field. Shumway placed third at 22:00.27 behind rival Austin Asay of Pine Bluffs/Burns at 21:41.80. Both were topped by Mikayla Hudgins of Wright who came out of nowhere with a fast time of 21.28.04 Shumway was the only one on the LHS team to make all-state by placing in the top 10.
“Kim ran the best that she could, and I’m happy that she made all-state,” said Sanders. “She ran the best she could and she should be proud of that.”
Meryk McArthur placed 13th at 23:46.36, missing all state by a matter of seconds.
“I was impressed with Meryk. She really stepped up a notch for this season, and she was one of the top performers on the team,” said Sanders.
Freshman Chayli McArthur joined the team only recently when her volleyball season ended. This was her first and only race of the season at 25:14.12, good for 22nd place. McKenzie Jue placed 36th at 28:12.66, beating her previous time of 30:25.
Senior Susie Shumway placed 21st at 25:37.97.
“Susie has always been a consistent hard worker so I am proud of her even though this wasn’t her best race,” said Sanders.
The girls’ team placed fourth overall out of seven teams.
“I feel like everyone ran hard, and no one was trying to hold back,” said Sanders. “Not all of the pieces fell together and we didn’t reach some big goals, but we had good times compared to last time we ran this course.”
“For the seniors like Colin and Susie, who have been in the program for four years, I think it is important to acknowledge that they have been a good example of hard work,” said Sanders.
By Patti Carpenter