Coach Matt Appelman’s cross country runners traveled to Denison, Texas on Saturday, September 28 for the Denison Invitational Cross Country Meet. Though the competition was stiff and plentiful, the Indians rose to the occasion.

The Indians’ team placed seventh for the day, behind some big school teams and big talent, finishing after Whitesboro, Pilot Point, Durant, Allen, McKinney Christian, and Melissa Schools. There were almost 150 runners competing in the men’s 5,000 meter varsity race.

The team ran well despite competing without Danny Sanchez and Colt Bartling, who has developed a stress fracture.

But Wyatt Vinson, who continues to impress, ran well enough for second place with a time of 17:25.51. Kyler Wiliams finished 15th in 18:38.18 and Wilbert Salas was 23rd in 18:57.23.

“Wyatt looked really good on Saturday,” said Appelman. “He led for much of the race, and got beat right at the finish line, he just ran a fantastic race.”

Bartling’s injury is a concern to Coach and the rest of his team, who are hoping to get him healthy and back on the roster before the end of the season.

“We have a chance to be on the podium at the state meet,” Appelman said, “but we really need to get Colt back for the team to be as solid as we can be.”

For the Lady Indians, the day couldn’t have gone better.

“Our girls ran especially well,” remarked Appelman. “The competition was fantastic, with two of the teams we faced ranked in Texas 4A, but we made them look bad on Saturday.”

The Lady Indians had four runners in the top eight, five in the top 15, and seven in the top 25.

Mandy Sykora and Kaelyn Dobbins ran third and fourth with times of 12:39.53 and 12:47.75.

“Mandy and Kaelyn continue to meet expectations, working hard, running strong, and leading the team by example,” said Appelman.

Madison Lemons finished in seventh place in 13:01.51 and Sophie Love in eighth place in 13:13.69.

“Sophie ran her best race of the year,” he continued. “She ran strong, just had a fantastic day.”

Tanasia Randle was 14th with a time of 13:31.16, Vanessa Rodriguez was 18th with a time of 13:36.29, Abby Alvarez was 26th in 14:02.00, Isabella Salas Garcia was 28th with 14:13.10, Rosie Castellanos was 30th in 14:17, Jaleigh Blevins ran 48th in 14:53.02, and Timberly Riley came in 50th with a time of 14:56.14.

“Denison was a great meet for both teams,” Appelman said.

The Indians travel to Decatur, Texas for their next meet, held on Saturday, October 5.

 “Decatur is a meet we always look forward to,” added Appelman. “The course is fast, the competition pushes us to excel, and we’re looking for some new PRs – it should be a great week.”