• October 17, 2019

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Crane comes away with first place finish - Odessa American: Sports

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GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Crane comes away with first place finish

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Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 8:31 pm

The Crane Ladybirds came away on top Thursday in the small-school (Classes 1A-4A) girls division at the Odessa Invitational, beating out Wink at UTPB Park.

Crane finished with 34 points, while Wink totaled 67.

Despite having injury problems with her team this season, Crane head coach Machele Pahl believes her team is now coming together at the right time.

“I’m really excited,” Pahl said. “We came into the Odessa meet really eager and wanting to do well. We hoped that this could be one of our better meets. We just got a few of our athletes back from injury, so we ran a very good race today.”

The Ladybirds had four runners finish in the top six as individuals on Thursday, led by Railey Rodriguez, who was third overall in a time of 14 minutes, 1.84 seconds on the 3,200-meter course.

“Honestly, it was a hard course,” Rodriguez said. “It becomes easy once you know what you’re going to go through and if you’ve run it a couple of times before, you know what to expect and I knew what to expect from it today.”

Rodriguez was one of the runners for Crane who has been battling injuries throughout the season but is now starting to hit her stride as district looms ahead.

“I think I ran well,” Rodriguez said. “I had problems with my hip at the start of the season, but now coming back from all of that, I feel pretty good.”

“Railey’s done a very good job,” Pahl said. “I’m very proud of her. She’s one of our runners who has struggled with confidence this year, but today she did very well. She got back up to the pack. She didn’t over think the race. She learned to relax and get going. Today’s a great day for her.”

Rodriguez was followed by her teammates Madelyn Bernard, who was fourth in 14:02.06, Angelina Perez (fifth in 14:16.03) and Nalleli Murguia (sixth in 14:25.06).

“We’re really excited because sometimes, we don’t have everyone grouped up at the top like that,” Pahl said. “But they had a lot of confidence to get up there at the top of the pack and now we’re hitting our stride. They showed that they can be up there and hopefully, this is a turning point going forward.”

Staci Vasquez was 18th overall to round up the top five for Crane.

The Ladybirds will host their District 3-3A meet on Oct. 17 and Pahl thinks her team got a boost of confidence from this winning Thursday’s meet.

“We’re very excited because we needed this win today,” Pahl said. “We have a difficult district that we run in with a lot of good teams. I think this will help us go in with a positive note.”

Despite coming in second, Wink had its top two runners finish first and second individually on Thursday.

Autumn Smith won the race, crossing the finish line in a time of 13:32.22.

“It was a pretty good race,” Smith said. “It was pretty hot and windy. It was a pretty flat course. Most of the courses that we’ve run at have been very hilly.”

She was able to use a strong start to her advantage as she spent most of the race leading the pack.

“I was just able to get off to a good sprint at the beginning of the race,” Smith said. “I just got off to a good start. I was kind of surprised but I was happy. It was pretty hot and it felt good to come out strong.”

She was followed by her teammate Maci Garrett who crossed the line at a time of 13:59.91.

Hannah Clark was next for Wink, finishing eighth in a time of 14:46.12.

Greenwood took third as a team, finishing with 92 total points.

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAMichaelba

Odessa, TX

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