After countless miles of training, McPherson High’s cross country team will run for real on Thursday when it opens the season in the Concordia Invitational.
Meet time is 4:15 p.m. Other teams expected to be on hand are Beloit, Clay Center, Pike Valley, Republic County, Buhler, Ellsworth and Minneapolis.
This will be the Bullpups’ first meet under new coach Aspen Frey, a former McPherson College standout who had been serving as an assistant coach. She’s optimistic about the team as it has been adapting well to her teachings.
“My athletes are progressing nicely with their training,” Frey said. “They are noticing on their easy runs how their pace is naturally speeding up, yet their heart rate is still in the range it is supposed to be and it isn't straining to run faster.”
This meet should give Frey a good measuring stick for the rest of the season.
“I am expecting some good competition with what we will see this season,” Frey said. “However, we have gained a lot of strength, too, already over the summer and I have no doubt, especially for our men's team, that we will be tough to beat. We just have a good solid Top 7 on the men's side. Our women's team has definitely come a long way since last season, so I am excited to see how they keep progressing with these first few meets. We have a pretty steady Top 6 for the guys, but the seventh place will be a good competition this year.”
Four seniors will lead the boys, led by Wyatt Hedlund, Paxton Leaf, Chris Kirchner and Isac Moreno. Rounding out the Top 7 are juniors Tyler Timson and Cole Hansen, and sophomore Isiah Moyer.
For the girls, amazingly the Top 7 are all sophomores — Katie Bahr, Mary Ann Wurm, Katelyn Beam, Hannah Hageman, Maggie Leaf, Hannah Dossett and Brooke Miller.