Lovell harriers run PRs in Powell ahead of conference and state meets

David Peck
Enjoying a perfect afternoon for racing on a favorable course at the Powell golf course, the Lovell High School cross country team set numerous personal records at the Powell Invitational Friday afternoon.

In total, 11 runners set PRs on the cool but sunny afternoon.

“We were prepared to set PRs on this course. We’ve talked about it for a while now, and it was a great day for running – perfect weather,” said coach Caleb Sanders. “Everything fell into place for our PRs.

“We’re really close to having three (runners) in the 18s and have met our goal of having one in the 18s and three in the 19s,” Sanders said, referring to 18-minute and 19-minute times in the 5K races. “We’ve had a couple kids running in the 18s so far.”

Senior AJ Clark is one of two LHS runners of the week, setting a new personal record and placing 33rd in a strong varsity field with a time of 18:48.

“AJ not only set a PR, he was our fastest runner on the boys team,” Sanders said. “AJ is very competitive and puts in extra miles to improve himself. We, as coaches, were very happy that his hard work showed – in this meet in particular.”

Sophomore Jacob Thomas also set a PR, placing 35th in a time of 19:03, two minutes faster than his time on the same course a year ago.

“We knew he would perform like this. He’s been doing it all season,” Sanders said. “I know he’s going to get into the 18s, which doesn’t surprise us the way he runs in practice. We’ve commented that he’s a different runner than he was last year.”

Sophomore David Durfee is nursing a quad injury but still ran 19:06, 17 seconds off his season best, to place 36th.

“We’d like to see David healthy. We know he can put together a great race when he’s 100 percent,” Sanders said. “He can put together a fast race, and he wants that for himself.”

Also coming on strong is junior Stetson Asay, who placed 39th in a personal record time of 19:20, beating his personal record set a week earlier in Worland by 16 seconds.

“Look how far Stetson has come,” Sanders marveled (Asay ran 21:02 on the same course last season). “That’s just maturity – experience and body development.”

Sophomore Owen Hill ran under 20 minutes for the first time, placing 48th in a personal record time of 19:41, 30 seconds faster than his previous best time in Cody.

“Owen really applies what we talk about in practice,” Sanders noted. “He has really focused on his cadence, which allows him to get better and better.”

Sanders also noted the performance of sophomore Jay Mayes, who ran a personal record 19:59, and junior Dino DeLaCruz ran 20:22 despite running with a lower leg injury.

“This was Jay’s first time under 20 minutes,” Sanders noted. “He and his brother (Sam) make each other better. They push each other. I’m sure Dino (20:00 at Cody) would have run under 20 minutes if he was healthy.”

Sam Mayes, a freshman, was the top Lovell performer in the junior varsity race, placing 16th in a time of 20:24, and sophomore Cash Wassmer ran 22:41 (PR), sophomore Jaxen Clark 22:57 (PR) and junior Thane Zollman 23:48.

“That was Thane’s season best time,” Sanders said. “He’s been really showing his improvement in practice. We knew he was going to race good.”

Girls results

Two runners shared runner of the week honors this week: senior Keyanna Walker and sophomore Atlee Sanders.

Walker set a personal record and placed 41st in the varsity race in a time of 25:07, beating her time in Powell a year ago by more than a minute and a half and her previous season best and PR by 48 seconds. Sanders placed 45th in a personal record 26:53, beating her previous PR by nearly a minute and her time at Powell last year by nearly two minutes.

“Keyanna has been our top runner in the last few meets, and her leadership and experience is showing,” Sanders said. “She’s healthy this year, which is exciting.

“This was Atlee’s first time under 27 minutes. She’s cut a few minutes off of her time this year. She’s figuring out some things with her cadence, as well. That’s helping her run better.”

Freshman Candace Walker placed 43rd, running the course in 26 minutes, and senior Sadie Wassmer finished 44th in 26:35, a personal record.

Senior Hallie Cornia and sophomore Lyn Marchant did not run due to injury.

The Bulldogs will travel to Ethete Friday for the 2A West/Five Rivers Conference meet at Wyoming Indian High School, hosted by Fort Washakie High School. Running begins at noon.

The Wyoming State Cross Country Meet will be held Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Cheyenne Country Club, with the 2A boys race set for 11 a.m. and the 2A girls at 12:30 p.m.