AFTON – Pinedale High School sophomore Madison Antonino captured gold and the Regional Championship in girls’ varsity at the 4A West Conference Cross-Country Meet in Afton on Friday, Oct. 14.
Competing with the Jackson Hole High School (JHHS) cross-country team, Antonino’s first-place finish earned the runner All-Conference honors and helped propel the JHHS varsity girls into second place overall, beating Laramie, Star Valley, Kelly Walsh and Rock Springs.
Antonino posted a time of 19 minutes, 18.40 seconds, finishing nearly 40 seconds ahead of the runner-up from Laramie on a particularly challenging 5K course featuring plenty of elevation gain.
“The course in Afton is notorious around the state for its difficulty,” said Head JHHS Coach Jeff Brazil.
The varsity girls’ squad put in a tough week of practice to prepare for Afton and “were definitely ready for this race,” Brazil added. “They were nice and focused on the starting line, understanding the race plan and confident.”
Antonino hit her stride the moment the starting gun fired with a “fast, early aggressive start,” Brazil explained.
“As she got to the 2-mile mark, Maddy had already made her big move to break away from those around her,” he added. “Maddy already had around 15 seconds on the (runner in) second place.”
Brazil is looking forward to the State Meet on Saturday, Oct. 22, in Ethete.
“The (girls’ varsity) are going to make State interesting,” he said.
Pinedale High School sophomore Cora Koci competed in the Conference Meet at Afton and took 14th place in the girls’ junior varsity division, clocking the 5K course in at 25:49.50.
The girls’ junior varsity squad followed the race strategy “perfectly,” Brazil said, moving up in the pack and picking off runners as the race progressed.
“The cool thing was that all of our JV girls were clearly the freshest runners on the course, ready to attack the final mile,” Brazil added. “Consistently, Cora moved up to 14th place and it seemed like she was just hitting her stride.”