Weiser cross country runners look to qualify for state meet

Weiser’s cross country runners competed in their last regular season race at the Winston Tilzey Invitational at West Park in Nampa and again posted strong times as they shaved seconds off previous finishes.
 The Winston Tilzey Invitational was a big cross country meet that attracted 26 teams from 2A, 3A, 4A and 5A schools from all over the Treasure Valley and beyond to race on the Nampa course.
 The Weiser varsity boys finished in the 13th spot in team scores. The winner was Rocky Mountain, with Borah placing second and Centennnial rounding out the top three schools.
 For the varsity girls, Rocky Mountain placed first, followed by Centennial in second and Cole Valley Christian in third place. Weiser finished in 9th place in team scores.
 Weiser Coach Scott Hale said there were a lot of season-best times posted by the Wolverines at the meet last week and runners are performing well heading into the district championships on Thursday.
 “I think our team is peaking at just the right time. We had about half the team get season best times at that meet,” he said. “Our goal all season has been to qualify both teams for state. Both teams have pretty decent shots at accomplishing that goal, but both teams will have to perform at their best.” 
 Weiser’s Abbey Shirts finished in a three-way tie for sixth place with Keelin Stewart of Cole Valley Christian and Tiffany Thomas of Borah. All three runners crossed the finish line with a time of 19 minutes, 52 seconds.
 Shirts ran her second-best race this season and her second sub-20 minute finish. Her season best time was 19:35.9 posted on Sept. 22.
 The varsity girls 5,000-meter race was fairly close at the finish line. Less than a minute separated the first place winner and the ninth-place finisher. There were 194 runners in the varsity girls race.
 Centennial’s Aubrey Thueson won the race in a time of 19 minutes, 4 seconds. Gemma LaVergne of Emmett took second place with a time of 19:22. Crossing the finish line just one second behind her was the third-place finisher Emma Hillam, of Fruitland, who clocked a time of 19:23.
 Finishing the race for the Weiser varsity girls were Ellie Walker (23:10), Alonna Freeland (24:00), Ashlyn Walker (24:14), Kiearra Hoobery (24:19), Libbie Rynearson (25:36), Madi Cobb (26:00), Elizabeth Horton (29:19).
 Rhett Kunz led the Weiser varsity boys with a top-20 finish in a large field of 171 runners. Kunz tied with two other runners for 16th place with a time of 17 minutes, 17 seconds. 
 The senior is running his fastest races of the season. His time of 17:17 at the Winston Tilzey Invitational was only five seconds behind his all-time best time of 17:12 posted on Oct. 4. 
 Also finishing for the Weiser varsity boys were Guillermo Cobos (19:23), Nate Lattin (20:06), Colton Foster (20:10), Michael Despain (21:06), Mitchell Westover (21:09), Cade Thompson (22:00), Luke Johnson (22:07), Kyler Thomason (23:23), Colyer Chandler (23:40).
 Weiser cross country runners will compete on Thursday, Oct. 18, at the SRV 3A district championships for a chance to go to state. The meet will take place at Mann Farms in Parma.
 Hale said it looks like Fruitland and Parma boys will qualify for state as a team. Homedale and Weiser will likely be vying for the last team spot, he said.
 On the girls side, it looks like only two teams will be able to qualify. Fruitland is almost guaranteed a spot, Hale said, and Weiser and Parma will be fighting for the second spot and a chance to go to state. Along with team qualifying, individual runners can also qualify for state. 
 “It will definitely be an exciting race, but I think our team is prepared to give their all,” Hale said.
 In 2017, a total of 14 Weiser High School cross country runners – seven boy and seven girls – qualifed for the 3A state championships at Eagle Island State Park in Eagle.
 The 3A state championships will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Lewiston.


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