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Cross Country teams finishes strong first time out

The Trojans girls cross country team ran Saturday in the Labor Day Classic hosted by Palo Verde High School, a Division 1 team. The course was 5,000 meters with 18 teams competing. Trojans Coach Matthew Kolodzieczyk was happy with the results.

“I was pleased with our performance,” he said. “We had some circumstances with the road being washed out. I had to make some phone calls. That might have played a little factor, but not too much. We have some times that we can work with now.”

The girls team is laden with talent in runners like Stefanie Thelaner, Jackie Sanchez and Melanie Lawdensky. The girls finished in seventh place with six Division 1 teams in front of them. The team was the top finisher for Division 1-A.

Thelaner ran a 21:30.6. Only one girl finished ahead of her in Divison 1-A, Hannah Pavlov of Faith Lutheran, who was 12th with a time of 21:24.1. Sydney Badger, the 800-meter state champion from Centennial, finished first with a time of 18:54.5.

“Thelaner was 14th out of 88 girls. That is a good number for her now and we will improve on that 21:30.6,” Kolodzieczyk said.

The coach believes the boys have a lot of potential to improve. Senior Devon Montgomery was the 300-meter hurdle state champion for the boys track team last year and is now running distance. This is his first time running cross country. Devon Montgomery finished second and Shane Weber finished first for the boys. Weber was 71 out of 101 at 21:56.3 and Montgomery was 76 out of 101 at 22:27.4. Jackson Carter finished first for the boys from Centennial with a time of 16:05.9. Vo-Tech finished in fifth and was the top 1-A school for the boys with Martin Ponce taking fifth place with a time of 17:07.7.

“It’s my first time doing distances,” Montgomery said. “It has been really hard on my body. My body is used to going 100, 200 and 400 meters and then stopping. I have been practicing all summer so my body is fine now. On our first meet I was really nervous. The first meet was the hardest thing I have ever done.”

Montgomery said this exploration into cross country running may lead to middle distance running during the track season. He said he may look into running the 800-meter run.

Kolodzieczyk had some good words for his new runner.

“Devon finished in 22 minutes and he is a sprinter so he is getting used to the distance. He is used to expending all his energy in about a minute, so now he has to spread that over three miles.”

Kolodzieczyk is looking forward to the next meet, which is on the championship course in Boulder City at Veterans Memorial Park for the Las Vegas Invitational. This is a course the team is used to running several times a year and it should do well.

“It’s a course that will offer a lot of different terrain for the runners. We will see how the new runners do. I think we do better in the longer ones. We are starting to kick up the mileage,” he concluded.

The meet is this Saturday, Sept. 7 and 39 teams will be there.

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