By Greg Ford
WYLIE — Plano East’s cross country teams put on a fine showing at this past Saturday’s Raider XC Invitational at Founders Park, with the boys easily racing to first and the Lady Panthers roaring to second.
The teams are scheduled to compete in the Sept. 17 Ken Garland Invitational, which will take place at the UNT golf course in Denton.
After that, East will run in Sept. 24 Lovejoy XC Fall Festival at Myers Park in McKinney and the Oct. 8 Carroll Dragon XC Classic at Bob Jones Park in Southlake.
Tanner Moore was the first Panther to cross the finish line, taking third in 16:38.
Elijah MacKey of Melissa (16:21.9) and Plano’s Zach Atnip (16:31.8) finished in front of him.
The Panthers, who scored 32 points, captured first by getting their next four runners — the top five determine point totals — to grab spots five, six, seven and 11: Jeffrey Sillers (16:44.6), Nathan Rankin (16:45.8), Grant Wilcox (16:56.4) and Devin Vallejo (17:13.4).
Plano finished a distant second with 95 points, with Melissa (103), McKinney Boyd (105) and Wylie (106) rounding out the top-five schools.
Martha Brown (19:08.7) finished second behind Plano’s Ashlyn Hillyard (18:39.7) to spearhead the Lady Panthers to second, with Plano taking first (38 points).(
“I was real happy with our team overall,” said head coach Robert Reed. “As a whole, our team average dropped from last week. This course was probably a little bit slower.”
Eva Wilk (19:39.7) was third, while Lexi Bradstreet (19:58.5) was fifth.
However, the Lady Panthers’ fourth and fifth runners, (Makayla Conroy – 25th at 22:35.6 and Divya Prabhakaran – 30th at 23:03.3) finished well behind them.
Top teams usually have about a one-minute split between their No. 1 and No. 5 runners, Reed noted.
“Our four and five (runners) have to get closer, because our top three is one of the best in district,” he said. “I thought we competed well. Last week (at Plano) they got out really fast, but this week was a much more even race.”
Rounding out the top five in the team standings were host Wylie East (94), Forney (115) and Rowlett (159).