For most of the Eminence cross country runners, Saturday’s Shelby County Invitational was their first time in an official race and, for the most part, it showed. The Warriors had conservative starts, miscalculated paces and were intimidated from the get-go, coach Scott McClamroch said. But now, with a race out of their way, McClamroch expects them to show improvements during the rest of the season.
“Overall, I thought we did okay. We had so many new runners that they were excited but scared to death,” McClamroch said. “For the most part, though, I wasn’t disappointed. They were terrified that they would go out fast, get sucked up in the pace and not finish. I thought it was a good experience. For the most part, I think we will see big improvements.”
Eminence was able to field a girls’ varsity team, which takes at least five finishers to get a score in the team standings. Yazshua Armenta paced the squad with a 69th-place finish, covering the 5,000-meter hilly course in 32 minutes, 15 seconds. Amy Van Der Luit finished 70th in 32:19, Candace Wells finished 74th in 33:53, Samantha Congleton finished 76th in 33:56, Gwendolyn Smith finished 77th in 36:24, Rachel Raisor finished 78th in 36:26 and Kaelin Wright finished 79th in 38:26. As a team, Eminence was ninth with 275 points. Paul Laurence Dunbar won the team title with 45 points, while John Hardin’s Maggie Mattingly was the first to cross the finish line in 19:45.
Based on this race, the most promising runner for the Lady Warriors was Armenta, who joined the team just three weeks ago, had never run cross country before and was still recovering from being ill coming into Saturday’s race. Armenta ran the first two miles conservatively, then picked it up the final mile to have a strong finish.
“She has all the potential in the world,” McClamroch said. “I think she’s going to be very good. She has the heart and dedication to do well.”
As for the boys, the Warriors had just two runners participate in the varsity competition. Trey Hernandez placed 72nd in 22:15 and Brandon Lane placed 91st in 25:55. Their top runner, Jesus Ramos, was watching from the side with an illness but is expected back for the next meet.
The top runner for the Warriors in this race, Hernandez, started out with a first mile in around six minutes, slowed down his pace in the second mile and picked it up in the third before the sprint finish.
“Trey was a little disappointed with his time, but he’ll be fine,” McClamroch said. “He probably held back a little more than he should had. He’s in really good shape though.”
Eminence will now move forward with its next race this Saturday in Goshen.
“It was a learning experienced, and that’s what I stressed to them,” McClamroch said. “That’s the way we looked at this race. Now, we will continue to get after it.”
Boys’ varsity (5K): Trey Hernandez, 72nd, 22:15; Brandon Lane, 91st, 25:55. Girls’ varsity (5K): Yazshua Armenta, 69th, 32:15; Amy Van Der Luit, 70th, 32:19; Candace Wells, 74th, 33:53; Samantha Congleton, 76th, 33:56; Gwendolyn Smith, 77th, 36:24; Rachel Raisor, 78th, 36:26; Kaelin Wright, 79th, 38:26. Girls’ middle school (3K): Sara Swanger, 55th, 14:34; Lyndsay Craigmyle, 124th, 21:04.