By GABRIELLE SHIOZAWA
Moapa Valley Progress
The Moapa Valley High School Cross Country teams continued their successful season with standout performances at two competitions last week.
The first competition of the week, the annual Bud O’Dea Classic, was held at Desert Breeze Park on Tuesday, Oct. 10. The hilly 2.5 mile course, open solely to freshman and sophomore athletes, featured runners from 30 high schools. Because this year’s MVHS Cross Country teams are composed largely of underclassmen, the Pirates had a stronger presence at the Classic than they have had for several years.
In the freshman boys’ race, Centennial’s Noah Norris set the course at 14:38. Pirate runner Preston Humes took eighth place with his time of 15:28. Placing 29th at 16:41 was Max Shambaugh. After a close race to the finish with Faith Lutheran’s Jad Damaj, Gabriel Leavitt pulled ahead for a 16:45 finish in 32nd place, beating Damaj by a single second.
Bishop Gorman’s Emilia Puskas placed first in the freshman girls’ race with her time of 16:10. Samantha Thompson was the first from Moapa Valley to cross the finish line, doing so at 20:24 and taking 36th place. Taking 44th place at 21:01 was McKinley Bledsoe. After a close race with Somerset Academy Sky Pointe’s Robin Trombly, Annabel Lounsbury pulled ahead for a 21:52 finish in 56th place, beating Trombly by only one second. Haley Bush placed 65th with her time of 25:01, and Kayli Thompson took 68th place with her time of 26:09.
The girls team placed 6th overall.
In the sophomore boys’ race, Coronado’s Tom Dougherty placed first at 13:49. Samuel Jolley, the sole Pirate representative, finished the course at 15:48, nearly a minute faster than his previous record on the Desert Breeze course. Jolley placed 40th in the event.
Centennial’s Josephine Ruggieri set the course for the sophomore girls at 16:42. Andrea Mogren represented the Pirates well when she finished in 17th place at 18:27.
Numbers and performances were strong during Saturday’s 5k competition as well, even in the midst of homecoming festivities. Twelve Pirate athletes traveled to Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City for the Lake Mead Invitational, where they were joined by competitors from 41 local high schools.
In the varsity boys’ race, Lake Mead Christian’s Shay Rutledge led the pack with a 17:47 finish. Preston Humes took 12th place for the Pirates with his time of 18:56. Close behind, taking 14th place at 19:06 and beating Pahrump Valley’s Grant Odegard by one second, was Bryton Dorsey. Samuel Jolley placed 21st with his time of 19:20. Placing 42nd with a 20:05 finish was Max Shambaugh. After a close race with Somerset Academy Losee’s Mason Binko, Gavin Henrie pulled ahead for a 20:33 finish, placing 49th and beating Binko by a single second. Finishing off the race for the Pirates with a 21:11 finish in 56th place was Gabriel Leavitt.
The Meadows’s Ellen Hirsberg led the varsity girls’ race with a 21:07 finish. Samantha Thompson placed 32nd for Moapa Valley when she completed the course at 25:38. Taking 35th at 25:49 and 36th at 26:06, respectively, were McKinley Bledsoe and Hannah Watson. Annabel Lounsbury took 54th place at 29:08. Haley Bush made a personal record of nearly a minute with her time of 29:18, which placed her 56th. Kayli Thompson finished the race at 31:59, placing 67th.
Overall, the boys placed fifth while the girls placed seventh. In both cases, SECTA and Pahrump Valley placed first and second, respectively.
“[Cross country] is an individual sport with a team aspect to it, and having bigger numbers has made it more fun for the kids who are here,” commented Coach Humes after Tuesday’s competition. “It’s exciting to see so many of them coming out and excelling as young, first-year runners, and the future looks bright because of it.”
This Saturday, MVHS Cross Country will compete in the Southern Division Finals at Basic High School.