Woodland cross country runners Tess Cochran, Carli Clymer, Cheyenne Spinks, Makenna Trapheagen and Lindsay Scifers took five of the top seven spots at the Run at the Rock meet at Woodland High Saturday morning.
After the race, they were asked what their goals were for the rest of the season. They collectively said, “Win state.”
For most, that is a far-fetched ambition. However, they Lady Wildcats are currently ranked second in Class 5A and fifth in all seven classifications, according to Milesplit.
They showed why Saturday as they ran away from the competition, earning 18 out of a best-possible 15 points on their way to first place with an average time of 20:25.09.
“We have a lot of talent that’s come up from the middle school,” Woodland girls coach Matthew Landolt said. “They have a lot of talent down there. It finally all panned out and came up to us at the same time before we lost the current batch of talent that we had. We have the entire varsity from last year coming back. So they’re facing a lot of pressure from the freshmen if they want their spots.”
One of those freshmen, Tess Cochran, nearly broke the school record Saturday after freshman Carli Clymer broke it the weekend before at the Ridge Ferry Invitational. Cochran ran a 19:38.55, while Clymer came in at 19:48.03.
“It was just a good race. We all did well,” Cochran said.
“Tess had an outstanding race today. She ran the way we expected her to run last week,” Landolt said. “She had the freshmanitis. She came out a little hot last week and didn’t settle in as well as she would have liked. She made up for it this week. She got it done the way she needed to.”
Spinks came in fifth with a time of 20:44.33, Trapheagen came in sixth with a time of 20:56.17 and Scifers placed seventh at 20:58.36.
Overall, it was a dominant performance by the Lady ’Cats, or as Spinks put it, “Five of the top seven is not too shabby.”
“We knew we matched up pretty well,” Landolt said of the competition at the meet. “In talking to some of the coaches, Kennesaw was sending their varsity to a different meet and they’re always a contender. North Paulding has given us trouble here the last few years. They’re an outstanding program. We were really curious because they didn’t have any times posted yet. So I knew we would do well. I wasn’t sure how we would match up with North Paulding head-to-head.”
The five girls seemingly fed off one another, leading from start to finish.
“Our team has a pretty good relationship, so it helps a lot,” Scifers said.
“We’ve been trying to focus on [running together] this season, but we really don’t have to try. We just run to the best of our abilities and it just happens,” Spinks added.
Rounding out the top seven for Woodland, Abigail Campos had a strong performance as she placed 45th out of 131 runners with a time of 23:59.79, while Casey Bolan came in 51st with a time of 24:25.63.
Cass was led in the race by Stephane Robledo, who placed 78th with a time of 25:48.80.
Boys take 5th
Several of Woodland’s boys runners improved their times compared to last weekend’s Ridge Ferry Invitational.
One of those runners was Jonathan Holloway, who led the ’Cats to a fifth-place finish as a team, as he placed 14th overall with a time of 17:59.49.
“That’s my record on this course,” he said of his race. “As a course, [I don’t run it] that often, maybe a few times a year. But I run on these trails every day. ... You know just where to kick, just where to surge. You know all the little pathways you need to go.”
Holloway was followed by Jacob Giltz in 24th with a time of 18:32.30, Dawson McClure in 38th at 19:10.68, Dylan Stermer in 43rd at 19:17.44, Noah Warren in 45th at 19:28.54, Levi Brandenburg in 55th at 19:43.25 and Stanton Bedwell in 107th out of 180 runners at 20:52.09.
“I think it was pretty good for this early in the season,” Woodland boys coach Rob Forbes said. “I hoped to place a little bit better, but I think they did really well. We’re just looking forward to the rest of our races to see how we stack up.”
Woodland got a strong indication of where it stacks up in the region as Hiram and Carrollton also were at the Run at the Rock. Hiram and Carrollton placed second and third, respectively.
“We actually had our full squad running [Saturday]. We were missing one last week, so I could kind of see where they’re at,” Forbes said. “We can kind of see how we match up with some of the people in our region. Hiram and Carrollton were right in front of us, so now we know what we have to do to catch up with them.”
Of course, part of the Run at the Rock is navigating a steep hill, which is a bit different from running the flat course in Rome last week.
“It’s probably about 1/4-mile long, but it’s really steep,” Holloway said.
“The hill is really tough. It can take quite a bit out of you,” Forbes said. “A lot of guys, they bettered their time from Ridge Ferry and Ridge Ferry is very flat. So a lot of them worked hard and improved their times.”
Four Cass runners also competed in the race. Jacob Shaver led the way, running a 20:55.80, good for 109th. Ryan Dupree added a 136th-place finish with a time of 21:33.69, while Nick Poteat came in 137th with a time of 21:34.04 and Michael Shaver finished 158th at 23:06.02.