Byron girls win Byron Invitational, while boys earn second place
The Byron girls and boys cross country teams nearly swept the junior varsity races at the Byron Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Girls Cross Country Head Coach Tom O’Leary said they intended to run their varsity athletes at the Mayo Open, but it was postponed.
Despite varsity not running, he mentioned it was still a challenging meet.
“Byron's home meet is a highly competitive meet featuring six teams from the region.”
Those teams were Byron, Goodhue, Hayfield, Kasson-Mantorville, Kingsland, and Stewartville.
In addition to stiff competition, winning was even more challenging as the Bears had inexperienced girls’ teams.
“We are a very young squad, as evidenced by the fact we had three junior high girls run the junior varsity race,” O’Leary mentioned.
He was also concerned with how his team would respond to the heat.
“It was an unusually warm September day, and our athletes responded very well to the conditions,” he said.
Despite their youth and dealing with the heat, he was pleased with his team’s effort and the results reflected their effort.
“We were happy to witness the Byron girls win the championship in both the junior high and junior varsity fields,” O’Leary said.
In the junior high girls race, Julia Blom ran a strong 1.5 mile in a time of 10:59 to take first place overall.
Four more Byron athletes finished in the top 10, led by Sammy Solberg, and three newcomers to Byron cross country, with Ellie Meek, Lucile Gettman and Anna Branca rounding out the scoring for Byron.
In the junior high boys race, Noah Hosek earned fourth place by running 1.5 miles in 10:02.1.
He was followed by Jax Anderson, 10:02.1, and Brian Lujan, 10:02.4, who placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
Four more Byron runners placed in the top 20. Tristan Sandberg finished in 10:23.0 for eleventh place, Adam Arteaga finished in 10:56.5 for fourteenth place, Triston Koehler finished in 11:03.6 for sixteenth place, and Kolton Fiedler finished in 11:16.7 for nineteenth place.
In the junior varsity girls race, seventh grader Taylor Matter ran the best 5K of her young career to earn first place overall with a time of 23:55.
Right on her heels was eighth grader Kailey Schneider at 24:06.
Another eighth grader Cambelle Johnson finished fifth place overall. The scoring was rounded out by junior Alexa Himlie and sophomore Isabel Higgins.
In the junior varsity boys 5K race, Byron just missed winning the meet as their top five runners’ places combined for 59 points, while Kingsland’s top five runners earned 58 points.
Trevor Strain was the top finisher for the Bears coming in sixth place with a time of 21:02.3.
Spencer Axford finished just 15 seconds later to earn eighth place.
The Bears had three more runners finished the top 20. Brock Garteski finished in 21:39.3 for 12th place, Brandon Rolandson finished in 21:48.3 for 14th place, and Isaiah Petersen finished in 22:24.3 for 19th place.