There are some who may consider the number 13 to be unlucky. But that was not the case for Elizabeth cross country coach Alan Small or the boys running for the Cardinals in Saturday’s Centaurus Invitational over the Waneka Lake Park course in Lafayette.
Elizabeth finished 13th in the field of 21 teams yet it was a day in which Small and the guys were pleased with their performance. Pomona won the boys competition scoring a meet low 72 points. Rampart finished in second with 78 while host Centaurus was third with 122.
Gus Terry led the way for the Elizabeth boys, placing 25th among the 141 runners with a time of 17-minutes, 24.2 seconds.
Cerake Geberkidane of Denver East dominated with time of 15:39.0. He won by 28 seconds ahead of runner-up Tucker Hamilton of Rampart and 40 better than third-place Reid Chandler of Centaurus.
“That’s a pretty good finish for the boys within this competition,” Small said. “I think they all ran their hearts out and I’m proud of where we placed. All around the boys excelled for this early in the season, just a great effort, with a lot of good things to come. No, 13 was not really unlucky at all.”
Terry was pleased also, but he knew coming in it was not going to be his day.
“It was good, but it was a slow week for me,” Terry said. “Last Saturday I ran another meet, not high school, but a marathon, the Mountain Man Run. The group pulled away from me in the second mile, but I was able to make a comeback in the third mile. It has been kind of a recovery for me.
“The key will be to stay healthy, run competitively and not hold back,” Terry said. “I think it’s going to be a fine season and I’m looking forward to getting stronger and running hard each time out. And, we’ve got a pretty good group of guys this year.”
Elizabeth is in Class 4A and on this particular day the Cardinals were facing 15 Class 5A schools in the field of 21 teams. Zach Rodriquez finished 76th with a time of 18:37.0, Jake Thompson, 84th (19:04.5), Willis Scott 86th (19:05.8) and Gav Houston, 90th (19:12.6) to round out the Elizabeth scoring runners.
All felt they could have run better, but still were pleased about their finish in the field of larger schools.
“My last mile could have been faster, but overall I’m pretty happy with this early time out,” Rodriquez said. “I was trying to keep up with Gus and to stay focused and in the beginning I was with him. But he pulled away in the second mile. At that point I just didn’t want a lot of guys behind to catch me. I at least wanted to hold my spot.”
Shane Hathaway, who finished 125th (21:18.7) and Tanner Thompson, in 127th (22:18.5) rounded out the seven man varsity for Elizabeth.
Elizabeth did not field a varsity team in the girls competition. The only individual in the field was Cori Small, the coaches freshman daughter, so the Cardinals were not a factor.
“I felt a lot better than my last time out in our first meet,” said Small, who placed 97th with a time of 24:09.9. “I was able to take three minutes off my best time. I’m only a freshman, so there is a long way to go. I just hope and pray to just get better.
“It was also tough being the only girl on our team to run varsity today.”