I knew the girls would have a good shot at defending last year's Invitational title, but taking the line I must admit those athletic gals from Collegiate had me concerned. Once the race was underway, however, our girls placed themselves perfectly. Jessie ran great, just a second or two off her PR on a course that is nearly a minute slow for most runners. I knew she'd run well there; she seems to really like difficult courses (I told her she's kind of a sadist that way while we shared a run today). Kayla, Dani, and Bree were not far behind--it's clear my constant reminders to run in contact ("like a chain") are bearing fruit. But I was perhaps most thrilled with Emily's debut. Her fifth place time on the team sealed the win for us, and makes me really excited to see what she has in store for us. She's a huge pickup for us. HUGE. A tremendous competitor. Watch her times drop as she continues to catch on to this XC thing.
The boys captured the Invitational Runner-up spot, which might have been a surprise to some. Not me. Morgan showed some guts by taking the lead for a while, which was a fun experiment to watch. I've really got to hand it to him for going for it when it felt right. Like Jessie, Landon nearly PRed on the least PR-like course of the season. The rest of the boys basically saddled Paden. It's great to have him back. When the dust cleared, we were the second place team, with a lot to celebrate. But the coach in me had to remind them today how close we came to being the first place team. I mean, every one of our boys had a Desales kid right in front of him at the finish. I think if they'd have realized they were all sharing the same view--all looking at the backside of the same color jersey--we might have done something about it. But live and learn. It was a great lesson on an all-around great night.
Times keep dropping. Gaps keep closing. And this weekend brings a well-deserved break. Enjoy it runners. You deserve it.