Harriers battle heat, tough opponents
SODA SPRINGS, IDAHO – Despite temperatures approaching triple digits, the annual Cardinal Classic Cross-Country Invitational went ahead as planned on Saturday, Sept. 3 in Soda Springs, Idaho.
The competition featured runners from more than 30 schools across Idaho, along with a few representing Wyoming, including Jackson.
Pinedale High School (PHS) sophomore Madison Antonino, running for the Jackson girls’ varsity squad, swept across the finish line in the top 10 and earned fourth place. She clocked in at 20 minutes, 42.13 seconds, shaving 22 seconds from her time posted the previous weekend in Idaho Falls.
“Maddy’s time was impressive on this tough course,” said Head Jackson Coach Jeff Brazil.
Jackson fielded only three runners in the girls’ varsity division. Antonino attacked the final hill leading the Jackson pack and hit her stride on the downhill slope, picking off one runner after the other, said Brazil.
“Maddy and Sita (Yeomans of Jackson) took off down the hill, both using their length and strength to quickly move up the pack,” Brazil added. “This is tough stuff – attacking in the second half of a race – but both redlined for most of the second and third miles, passing girls by the handfuls.”
PHS sophomore Cora Koci competed in the girls’ junior varsity division for Jackson. She placed 81st out of 216 runners, timing in at 26:36.68.
“It is great to see (Cora) healthy after a frustrating freshman year that sidelined her with an injury for much of the season,” said Brazil. “The whole junior varsity crew has been working on opening their stride and getting comfortable running fast over long distance. Cora’s head was up, focused on passing people, not just settling into one spot.”
On Sept. 10, the Jackson cross-country team travels to the Liberty Bell Invite in Littleton, Colo., one of the largest cross-country meets in the region. The competition typically features more than 70 teams, said Brazil.