Running as pack leads Owls to girls’ meet title
ELGIN - If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
It's a popular running saying and the Elgin girls' cross country team well known for its speed and tendency to run in a pack likes to apply a little bit of both to its meet strategy.
That's exactly what the Owls did Friday morning in their home meet as the Elgin girls went fast running some of their fastest times of the season to date and together placing four of their runners in the top seven overall to win the meet title.
The Owls edged Bishop McGuinness for first place, scoring 38 points to 39 by the Irish. Altus finished a distant third with 53 points.
Cayden Beckner ran away from the pack as the Altus runner cruised to a first-place victory on the 5K course in a blazing time of 19:16.8.
After Beckner came a pack of not After Beckner came a pack of not wolves, but Owls. Chloe Phillips (20:00.0) and Kamree Castle (20:01.3) led the charge as the Elgin pair finished side by side in second and third place.
A pair of McGuinness runners finished fourth and fifth before another pair of Owls, Izzy Cummins (20:32.7) and Julessa Colong (20:41.0), finished in sixth and seventh place.
"Their times today were a big breakthrough," Elgin girls coach Tomi Lorah said. "This course was great. It's real smooth, completely flat and the rain has helped. It's a fast course, but the girls were trying to get into the low 20s and Chloe (Phillips) ran a 20 flat. They all ran well."
Izzy's twin sister Gabby sat out the meet for precautionary measures with a tender knee. Had the other Cummins sister run, Elgin likely would've ran away with the meet title.
Nevertheless, the running-as-a-pack mentality with Elgin's top four runners all within 45 seconds of one another was executed to perfection.
It all stems from the Owls' training, instilling to each that they can hit their splits consistently as a group.
"They practice running the same times together on their repeats all within two or three seconds of each other," Lorah said. "Everything they do is in a pack. We are just fortunate to have a group like that."
The Irish placed two more runners in eighth and ninth place right behind Cummins and Colong, but Mikalyn Moreland finished 21st in a time of 23:44.9 to deliver the final piece in an Elgin victory.
Each varsity girl in the top-15 was from one of three schools Elgin, Bishop McGuinness and Altus. In a sense, they all ran as a pack, but Elgin did it best.