The Tiger/Grizz Invitational Cross Country was the scheduled race for the Malad Dragon cross country racers, a highly competitive race day that featured more than 50 teams and hundreds of runners from all around Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada. The MHS runners joined the throng of competitors, coaches and fans on the Freeman Park course in Idaho Falls on Friday, September 8 to put their speed to the test.
With so many teams and racers, the busy race day schedule included six varsity races, six junior varsity races, and four middle school races. The six varsity races were further divided into the varsity A section that featured teams from 4A and 5A schools, the varsity B section that featured teams from 1A-3A schools and a first ever seeded race.
Both the Malad Women’s and Men’s team had a good showing on the race course with strong individual times and team scores. Lady Dragon racer, Cally Coleman came in 15th out of 105 racers with a time of 22:10.3. Winning the race was Bella Spencer of West Jefferson, crossing the finish line at 20:17.8. Brycen Talbot led out for the MHS Men’s team, finishing with a time of 18:43.3 to earn him 14th place out of 124 racers. The fastest time of the Varsity B division was run by Ezra Hubbard from Holbrook, racing for Rockland with a time of 17:06.
Malad’s team has seen some ups and downs as they move through the first half of the 2023 season as they have dealt with illness and injuries that have affected race day competitions and finishes. Despite the inconsistencies that come with sports, the team is doing well to put together a strong team and a strong season. It may be easy to assume that because cross country is an individual sport, team dynamics don’t play a part. But the truth is, these racers rely on each other, their strengths, drive and ultimately, their placing, to help get the team across the finish line.
While runners are competing for an individual place and time, the team is also competing. Each runner is awarded the number of points equal to the place they win as they cross the finish line. The runner in first place gets one point, the runner in second gets two, the runner in 15th place gets fifteen... and so on. Like scoring in golf, the team with the lowest score wins.
Teams consist of seven runners on varsity, seven runners on JV and continue on until all the teams are filled. Of the seven runners on each team, the first five to complete the race will be given a score. While the other two runners won’t receive any points, they still displace other team runners from scoring as high, making every runner important, not only those that place.
Racing in competitive meets such as the Tiger/Grizz Invitational, has pushed the MHS racers and helped them both individually and as a team. As they continue to train and compete over the upcoming weeks, they are sure to have a strong and exciting season.