They wanted to finish in the top 3 in their first meet of the season at Pisgah. The Guntersville High cross country team exceeded that goal. Both the girls and the boys finished No. 2 in the meet.
“It was a challenging course, which we were expecting,” Coach Chris Bashaw said.
It was run at Camp ToknowHim, a Christian camp located in Pisgah. The first mile was downhill, Bashaw said.
“We normally set goals for our times for Mile 1, Mile 2 and so on,” he said. “This week, we just set a goal for Mile 1. We walked the course before the race. We knew if we tried to hit a time, we’d be able to do it on Mile 1. With it being a tough course and us having a lot of new runners, it was going to be interesting to see how we responded.”
The girls raced at 9 a.m. and had the best running conditions, not too humid, Bashaw said.
“Ft. Payne was in this race and we knew they’d be strong,” he said. “The girls won the state 2 seasons ago and had a pretty good showing at state last year. To run against past state champions and teams with a good history, you have no other option but to perform or you’re going to get left behind.”
And perform Guntersville’s girls did.
Bradley Herbert led the pack at Mile 2, with Kate Tully in 6th place behind her. Kendall Moore and Sarah Wright were right in the thick of things too, just outside the top 10.
“I started wondering if we had run Mile 1 too fast and how things would pan out,” Bashaw said.
Herbert held on to win the varsity girls race. Her time was not exactly where she wanted to be, but remember this course had a lot of up and down terrain.
“I think she is actually about a minute and a half faster when she gets on a course known to be fast,” Bashaw said.
Kate also finished in the top 10.
Guntersville ended up tied with Arab for 2nd place. In that situation, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition by the No. 6 runners on the team. Anna Kate Lenoir was a minute faster than the Arab runner at No. 6, giving Guntersville the 2nd place finish.
Look for battles to continue all season between Arab and Guntersville. They’ll run against one another in the county meet and section meet later.
“We got to experience beating that team from up on the mountain in week No. 1,” Bashaw said. “But we can’t get too cocky about it. We have to use this to try to build momentum going forward.”
In the boys race, team leader Sam Moultrie was on an official college visit and did not get to compete.
“I told Trent Mason this was his week to be our No. 1 guy,” Bashaw said. “Trent went out and got a No. 4 finish for us in the boys race.”
The big surprise of the week was Jac Conway, Bashaw said.
“He’s grown a little and he’s worked really hard all summer,” he said. “He got a top 10 finish for the first time. We’re real happy for him. It’s proof the hard work he has put in was not in vain.”
The boys battled and got the No. 2 overall finish too.
In the middle school race, Bashaw said, Elliott Storey ran a very good race, as did Ella Seymour.
This week, Guntersville traveled to Montevallo to run under the lights at a night race.
“It’s always a fun meet,” Bashaw said. “There are crowds on both sides as the runners come to the finish. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s like the crowd for football, basketball and cross country rolled into one. It’s our night under the lights.”
The competition will be stiffer.
“We’ll be running with the Hoovers and Homewoods,” Bashaw said. “In order to get better, you have to run with good competition.”
Next week, Guntersville will run on the state meet course at Moulton. They’ll get a week off after that.