The SLUH cross country team was able to show off its incredible depth for the second week in a row by sweeping all but one division at the Parkway West Dale Shepard Invitational this past Saturday and taking home an abundance of medals. While the varsity squad had some mishaps, the rest of the team was able to clearly separate themselves from the rest of the field.

The varsity team kicked off the day, finishing second out of 20 teams. With 78 points, the team fell only to Rock Bridge (32 points). Although the varsity squad may not have raced to its full potential, they were still able to medal five runners. 

Leading the way for the Jr. Bills was senior Sean Kellogg who finished in 8th place (16:37.8). Grant Brawley (17:01.8; 14th), Baker Pashea (17:03.1; 15th) and Joe LaBarge (17:05.9; 16th) followed. Justin Glass was the Jr. Bill’s fifth finisher, coming in 25th place and running 17:29.5. Juniors Wyatt Seal (27th) and Nolan Meara (55th) rounded out the varsity runners on the day. 

Even though the varsity team struggled by their own account, the team is still confident that they can tighten things up and be much closer to Rock Bridge during the postseason.

“Even though we may not have had the best day as a team, I’m still very confident in our racing capabilities and think that we can improve significantly over the next few weeks,” said Pashea. “With a little work over the next few weeks on running together and helping each other during races we will be in a much better position when the postseason arrives.”

JV certainly picked up the slack for SLUH in the next race, placing seven runners in the top nine, and taking home nine medals. For the second week in a row, junior Tim Greiner led the way for the Jr. Bills, this time winning the JV race in a time of 17:48.9. Will Riggan (17:54.9; 2nd) and Francis Alford (18:14.3; 3rd) finished just behind Greiner. Rounding out the scoring for the Jr. Bills was senior Tad Gray (18:27.7; 5th) and junior Brendan Jones (18:35.4; 7th), which helped tighten the 1-5 gap down to 46.5 seconds. 

The JV squad scored an astounding 18 points, plowing through their next closest competitor, Webster Groves, by 64 points. 

“Even with four guys not racing due to injury, we were still able to put seven guys in the top nine, which is incredibly impressive and shows just how deep our team is this year,” said head coach Joe Porter. “It really shows just how good our runners are when you put them on the line against some of the top JV’s in the state and they can come away with a win by that big of a margin.”

With the inclusion of a sophomore race at the meet, the Jr. Bills were also able to demonstrate their dominance across the 10th grade level. Charlie Murray destroyed the competition, winning the race by over 15 seconds and running a time of 17:51. Mason Scargall (18:07; 2nd) and Anthony Zangara (18:09; 3rd) continued the sophomore dominance. Charlie Gray (18:23; 5th) and Gabe Sullivan(18:55; 7th) rounded out the scoring five. The five sophomores scored 17 points allowing them an easy victory over the second place team, Webster Groves who scored 60 points.

“The race really came down to confidence and closing,” said sophomore stud Charlie Murray. “As a team, we really had to race to win and work together and we did just that. We are an extremely talented team and if we continue to race like it, we are going to see results.”

At the freshman level, SLUH came out on top of its fierce competition with five runners in the top fifteen finishers. Gus Talleur (18:45) led off the scoring in 3rd place followed by George Donahue (19:10) in 9th place. Following just behind were Patrick Jones (19:37; 10th) and Logan Phillips (19:41; 11th). Mason Lauber (19:43; 13th) and Gavin Smith (19:46; 15th) closed out the scoring and brought SLUH to its third team win of the day. 

After a strong day across the board at Parkway West, the cross country program’s sights are firmly set on the upcoming Hancock Invitational on Oct. 16.  The meet takes place on what is typically a very fast course at Jefferson Barracks Park, giving runners of all levels a chance to run personal record times.

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