Demon boys finish in 6th place, girls 4th
The Washington boys’ and girls’ cross-country team hosted the Washington Invitational, Tuesday at the Washington Golf and Country Club with several standout individual performers from Washington, Highland and Keota.
Junior Curtis Vest led the boys with an 18th-place finish with a mark of 18 minutes and 48 seconds on the 5K.
The course was littered with big hills that kept Vest from posting his top time of the season.
“It is very hilly but it was easier than last year,” Vest said. “We got to go down hole 1 instead of up. We made up that time. It was pretty good, it was one of my best times. My top time was 18:30. I wanted to beat my time but it was still pretty good.”
He said he was hoping to get the top spot and with a top-20 finish earned some hardware.
“I did pretty good today; I got a medal,” Vest said. “First for my team was what I was looking for.”
Senior Austin Latcham was neck-and-neck with Vest until his asthma starting bothering him.
“Austin had asthma and kind of tripped and evidently fell,” said Curtis Vest. “I didn’t see it, but I kept going on and tried to get my best place.”
Latcham finished in 36th place nearly two minutes behind Vest, but could have joined him in the top 20.
Freshman Owen Horak garnered 34th place 14 seconds ahead of Latcham.
The boys finished sixth with 176 points, eight away from fifth.
The girls’ side was sparked by the return of sophomore Emelia Keith from an ankle injury. She finished eighth with a time of 17:34 in the 4K.
Freshman Mariah Howard gave the Demons two top-20 finishers with a time of 18:50 in 18th place.
Junior Stephanie Loy came in 26th with a time of 19:55. Sophomore Morgan Kimball rounded out her team’s top 30 places with a time of 20:01 in 27th place.
The Demons had a team score of 119 for fourth place.
Highland rode the first-place finish of junior Evan Mahler to a third-place team score.
Mahler made it two first place races in a week, in the Washington Invite and Golden Hawk Invite.
“It felt good,” Mahler said. “Getting in some good hill workouts is really good. Places like this are really hilly. Up and down (I was ready).”
Mahler was in breathing distance of Marion runner Colton Forster up until the final stretch. That is when he took off and his competition slowed.
“I think it was a little bit of both,” Mahler said. “I tried to pick up my pace at a certain point. There was somewhere between a mile and a half mile left.”
With two titles in seven days, he isn’t letting the success get to his head.
“You can win first once or multiple times but there are still people, better than you. You got to try and run faster and keep on going,” Mahler said.
Sophomore Keiffer Sexton took third place with a finish of 17:19. Senior Josh Brase took 11th place at 18:13.
Freshman Caleb Brase came in 16th with a time of 18:34. Senior Chris Ford took 21st with a time of 19:03.
The Huskies’ top girl was freshman Morgan Welsh in 24th place at 19:38.
Keota was led by junior Grant Hill’s 70th-place time of 24:06.
“It was a really good time for me,” Hill said. “I’m starting to push a little harder.”
He saw improvment from other Keota runners.
“Everyone improved a little bit,” Hill said. “Sophomore Ryan Chalupa and freshman Jason Ree were ahead of where they usually are in the pack.”