The Lovell cross country team ran with the foxes and hounds at the annual Cody invitational of the same name held at the Olive Glenn Golf Course Friday afternoon.
In a fox and hound format, runners who have recorded slower times over the course of the season are allowed to start first, with others starting in waves after that, based on their times.
Thus for the Bulldogs, top runner James Caldwell finished with the fourth best time – 17:58 – but finished 18th, as viewed by spectators, having started at the back of the pack.
“It’s not my favorite (format),” coach Caleb Sanders said. “It’s hard to see what’s going on. For smaller schools it puts us at a disadvantage for the eye test, people viewing the race. They see 15 Cody runners finishing and James 18th (but really fourth in time). It’s fun and mixes it up. It’s different, but that’s the part I don’t like.”
Sanders said the conditions weren’t bad for the race. A front had moved in, and conditions were rainy, cool and breezy, but not windy.
“It rained pretty good during some of the races, but it was OK,” he said. “Most of our kids enjoy it cooler anyway.
“It’s flat (Olive Glenn). It’s a pretty fast course, and I think our kids enjoy it. We get good feedback from them.”
As for results, the top finisher for the Lovell girls was junior Brooklyn Walker, who placed 27th in the field of 58 with a time of 23:32.
“She always does this,” Sanders said. “She always seems to steadily improve as the season goes. She gets better the back half of the season. Alex (freshman sister) cut off four minutes from her Worland time (at 27:47), so she’s starting to get her lungs (after golf season was over).”
The other five Lady Bulldog runners competing finished in a group from 29th place to 44th. Senior Patti Sanders ran 23:45 (29th), senior Lauren Mitchell 24:16 (32nd), junior Maddisun Steed 24:22 (33rd), freshman Anessa Luna 24:43 (35th) and senior Sariah Hendershot 25:35 (44th).
“Patti, Lauren, Maddie, Anessa and Sariah continue to be pretty consistent,” Sanders said. “For Sariah, cold is not her thing, but she ran well. For Maddisun, that was her best time since Billings (first week), so that’s good. We didn’t have Kathryn (Mickelson) or Raeghan (Wacker) there.”
For the Lovell boys, Caldwell ran the identical time he ran a week earlier in Worland, 17:58, to place fourth.
“He still needs to work on his finish,” Sanders said.
Junior Cardon Mickelson placed 13th with a time of 18:59.
“Cardon is back under 19 (minutes),” Sanders noted. “That was his best time since Billings. Placing 13th out of 71, that’s great.”
The four freshmen finished further down in the pack: Quin Carpenter 54th with a time of 21:53, Cameron Carpenter 56th at 22:10, Jordan Allen 66th at 25:14 and Rurik Olsen 68th at 26:38.
“They’re young and need to get stronger,” Sanders said. “And they need more experience. I was impressed with Rurik Olsen. He got his fastest time of the year. I’m hoping to see Jordan get into the 23s. There’s a great course this week to do that (Powell).”
The Bulldogs will conclude the regular season at the Powell Invitational Friday at the Powell Golf Course. Running begins at 2 p.m. with the middle school girls race, followed by the middle school boys at 2:30, the varsity girls at 3 p.m., the varsity boys at 3:30, the junior varsity girls at 4 p.m. and the JV boys at 4:30.
The 2A West Regional will be held next Friday, Oct. 18, in Thermopolis.
By David Peck