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Wildcats medal eight in season opener at Garnett

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The Louisburg boys cross country team took third overall Thursday in Garnett. Members of the team are (from left) Ryan Rogers, Carson Houchen, Anthony Davis, Evan Murphy and Cade Holtzen. Not pictured were Caden Bradshaw and Sawyer Richardson.

GARNETT – If its season opener had anything to say about the way the rest of the season will go, then the Louisburg cross country team will have a lot to celebrate in 2019.

Louisburg traveled to Garnett County Club on Thursday for the Jerry Howarter Invitational and came back home with a lot of hardware to show for its efforts.

The Wildcat boys finished third overall with 77 points to earn a team medal, while five of the seven members also earned individual medals. Iola won the meet with 40 points and Anderson County was second with 65.

The Louisburg girls also had a strong showing as they had three individuals medal, including senior Trinity Moore who finished second overall. The Wildcat runners were able to overcome a hot, humid afternoon to leave Garnett with a total of eight medals.

“Everyone ran well considering the heat,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “I did not have one complaint when stepping up to the line about it being too hot. They realize they all are in the same boat and they focused on their races. Eight varsity medals was awesome and the boys finishing third as a team was somewhat of a surprise.”

Senior Anthony Davis led the Wildcat boys in seventh overall with a time of 19 minutes and 41 seconds and sophomore teammate Caden Bradshaw wasn’t far behind as he medaled ninth in 19:52.

Sophomore Ryan Rogers was 15th in 20:05, while juniors Carson Houchen (20:45) and Cade Holtzen (20:54) came in 24th and 27th, respectively, to earn medals. Sophomore Sawyer Richardson finished 38th in 21:27 and senior Evan Murphy was 48th in 22:47.

“Our top six are going to be hard to crack as they all ran great,” Reece said. “Anthony, Carson, and Cade bring the experience and the newbies, Caden Bradshaw, Ryan Rogers, and Sawyer Richardson, will improve their racing every week and they will become a tight pack working together and be a solid team.

“Anthony is definitely committed to the sport this year. He has been bit by the cross country bug and really wants it. He ran great.”

On the girls side, Moore provided the performance of the day as she nearly won the event. The Louisburg senior, who ran a 22:16 to finish runner-up, was sitting in third for most of the race.

Louisburg senior Trinity Moore finished second overall Thursday in Garnett.

Moore made her way toward the front of the pack late, and eventually passed Fort Scott’s Macayla McClure about 50 meters to the finish line to take the lead, but McClure eclipsed Moore a few seconds later to take first.

“Trinity and all the others heeded Coach (Paul) Restivo’s and my advice to get settled in early and the field will come back to you and when it does, let’s go,” Reece said. “That is what allowed Trinity to get to the lead and make it a two person race. Everyone moved through the pack in the second half of the race and never stopped pushing.”

Sophomore Reese Johnson had a good opening performance as she finished in eighth overall in 23:21 to earn a medal. Senior Carlee Gassman also left Garnett with a medal as she took 13th in 24:06.

Freshman Bree Gassman (28:44) and junior Kennady Wilkerson (29:06) came in 45th and 47th, respectively, to round out the Lady Cats. As a team, Louisburg finished fourth with 92 points, while Baldwin won the meet with 36 points and Fort Scott was second with 77.

The Wildcats return to action Saturday when they travel to the Wamego Invitational. Races are set to begin at 9 a.m.

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