Center Point-Urbana cross country flexed their overall depth on both their girls and boys teams in the Dick Pollitt Go-Hawk Classic on the Wartburg campus on Tuesday, where runners were separated in freshman/sophomore and junior/senior races.
“This setup is great for the younger runners looking for success,” co-coach Jeff Engen said. “It gives leadership roles to sophomores instead of seniors in this race. I think it’s good for building for our future.”
The CPU freshman and sophomore girls finished second as a team with sophomore Emma Wilkerson finishing sixth overall with a time of 21:38. The rest of the top five finishes for the Stormin’ Pointers came from the freshman class as Sydney McCormick finished ninth with a time of 21:42, Julia Paine in 19th with a time of 22:56, Madison Bockenstedt in 28th with a time of 23:39, and Avery Sweeney 32nd with a time of 23:57.
“Emma Wilkerson’s race was 45 seconds faster than last season at this meet,” Engen said. “The freshman girls add so much depth to this team overall. Sydney had a really strong race.”
The freshman/sophomore group of boys finished fourth in their race as sophomore Casey Kirtz placed fifth with a time of 18:33 and sophomore Brody Behrens eighth with a time of 18:51. Freshman Carter Easton also placed in the top 15 with a time of 19:10, followed by sophomore Bradley Jones in 40th with a time of 20:51 and sophomore James DeSmet in 48th with a time of 21:03.
“I don’t know if they’ll post it by each grade level, but the sophomores technically won their grade,” Engen said. “Again, it shows we have a lot of depth on this team. Maybe we don’t quite have a number two runner like we’ve had in the past, but we have a pack that can move our times faster.”
The upperclassmen girls finished third in their team race, led by senior Kay Fett in second with a time of 20:02. Senior Kora Katcher finished sixth with a time of 20:27, followed by senior Leah Taylor in 27th with a time of 23:13, junior Laine Hadsall in 53rd with a time of 24:51 and junior Alivia Sweeney in 54th with a time of 24:53.
“Kay and Kora are two of the strongest runners around,” Engen said. “The sky’s the limit for them this season. Leah ran two minutes faster this season than last year’s meet. Compared to last year, we’re in a good place with our girls team.”
The junior/seniors boys capped off the meet with an eighth place finish, led by senior Eli Larson in second place with a time of 16:17. Junior Teegan Fuessley finished 42nd with a time of 18:55, followed by junior Jonah Salow in 50th with a time of 19:16, senior Nick Post in 63rd with a time of 20:12 and Samuel Gentz in 83rd with a time of 20:56.
“Eli is, of course, one of the best runners in the state, but we also are getting good times out of Teegan and Jonah,” Engen said. “With younger guys like Casey, Brody and Carter, we’re confident in our depth this season.”
CPU will run at a meet in Monticello on Saturday and then compete alongside Union and Vinton-Shellsburg at Starmont on Tuesday.