Above: Jewel Factor at the midway point in the varsity 5K.
The Gerry Smith Invitational, held on the Montgomery golf course, is one of the biggest cross-country races in Southern Minnesota.
After a year off, the meet was back in full force on Thursday with Loyola/Cleveland one of the 35 schools competing.
“It was fun to get back to a large invitational again after all small meets last fall,” said head coach Dale Compton. “Many of our athletes have never run against that many teams and schools that are much larger than we are. It was good to see a high level of competition. Meets like this will help us down the road when we compete against schools our size.”
There were 202 runners in the varsity boys race. Four of the Crusader front five finished in the top half. The race winner finished in 15:58.38, almost a minute ahead of the second-place runner.
With a 18:45.8, sophomore Nathan Strobel crossed the finish line in 51st place. James Young was 93rd with a 19:43.3. Carter Zimmerman was 98th with a 19:47.3. Sophomore Jorden Rossow was 99th with a 19:55.6, and Sam Vetter was 113th with a 20:18.2.
“It was good to see Jorden get out to a nice start in this race,” Compton said. “That's going to help us a lot at the end of the season.”
Rounding out the field, Freshman TJ Waldron was 137th with a 20:51.7, and Andrew Buboltz was 166th with a 22:04.9.
“TJ is going to continue to improve as well as he gets more accustomed to the 5k distance,” Compton said.
For the Crusader varsity girls, Grace Monson was 112th with a 25:07.59 finish. Sophomore Jewel Factor was 147th with a 27:30.9, and Cora Koester was 153rd with a 28:08.34. There were 173 competing, and the winning time was 18:32.96.
Among the 189 JV boys, Oleguar Costals took 18th with a 20:13.42. The winner finished in 18:49.18.
For junior high boys 2.5 K, Corbin Deichman took first with a 9:03.9. Matthew Soupir was 24th with a 10:12.8. Eighth grader Elijah Mons was 49th with a 10:46.4. Thomas Soupir was 66th with an 11:15.6. Mitchell Buboltz was 70th with an 11:25.1. Jack Sullivan was 116th with a 13:05.8. Isaac Coudron was 117th with a 13:09.5. Eighth grader Charlie Maxfield was 118th with a 13:09.47.There were 136 competing, and the winning time was 9:03.86.
For the junior high girls 2.5 K, Kathryn Huisken came in 21st with an 11:06.0. Molly Koester was 24th with an 11:18.9. Charlotte Kirschner was 39th with an 11:47.8. Sixth grader Valentina Rohlfing was 64th with a 12:38.2. Sixth grader Anika Sathoff was 101st with a 13:32.9. Hannah Coudron was 115th with a 14:21.8. The winning time was 10:00.84, and there were 139 runners competing.
This week, the Crusaders travel to Norwood on Tuesday and are back on the Loyola hill on Friday.
Nathan Strobel at the midway point in the varsity 5K.
Jorden Rossow in the varsity 5K.
TJ Waldron in the varsity 5K.
Elijah Mons in the junior high 2.5K.
Anika Sathoff midway through the junior high 2.5 K.
Valentina Rohlfing approaches the finish line in the junior high 2.5 K.