Season opener for Bearcat XC shows promise for road ahead


ST. MARY’S— On Saturday, the Grafton High School (GHS) Cross Country program entered their first meet of the season, with ending results that are sure to deliver a promising season. 

While competing in the Autumn Classic at St. Mary’s High School, the preseason ninth ranked Lady Bearcats displayed a strong performance. 

According to coach PD Louzy, 28 teams from across the state were represented at this meet, meaning the Cats were going up against some grueling competition. However, that didn’t dampen the team’s determination, as the ladies would walk away with a respectable tenth place finish. 

Leading the way for the Grafton ladies was sophomore Emily Viani. 

Viani navigated the 5K trail and outran the majority of her opponents, finishing in 13th place out of a total of 154 runners, with an impressive time of 21:41. 

Following closely behind was fellow sophomore River Sipes. 

Sipes managed to conquer the course with a time of 22:38, landing her in 32nd place. 

Rounding out the top five for the Lady Bearcats were Kayla Greathouse (68th, 24:46), Kevie Sipes (70th, 24:52) and Maddie Moats (108th, 27:08). 

“I was very pleased with our result. My top seven runners consisted of freshmen and sophomores,” Louzy revealed. “These ladies have been putting in the miles this summer, and a top ten finish in our first meet shows that.  Should only get better from here!”

Meanwhile, the boys were led by seasoned runner, junior JT Veltri, who earned a 22nd place finish out of 169 male competitors. Veltri navigated the course in just 17:57. 

Also finishing for the Bearcats were seniors Matthew Helmondollar (81st, 21:25) and his brother, senior James Helmondollar (125th, 23:32).  

Also representing Grafton was sophomore Dominic Beverly, who finished 128th, with a time of 23:56. 

“It takes five runners finishing to count as a full team,” explained Louzy.  “Senior Cayden Boylen did not compete, as he is dealing with a shin injury.  We have a lot of work to do on the boys’ side, but they are training hard, and we should be better by the time regionals roll around.”

The team will move on to compete in the RCB Flying Eagle Invitational on Saturday, August 21.

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