The Altus High School cross country teams took on some of the toughest teams in Oklahoma at the Duncan Invitational cross country meet on Saturday and the boys and the girl’s team both had runners pull out all the stops to finish first overall in their respective divisions.
Cayden Beckner led the Lady Bulldogs to a second place finished behind the Elgin Lady Owls while Ryan Oden led the men’s’ team to a third-place finish behind the Duncan Demons and the Elgin Owls.
Beckner continued her impressive run of late with an individual title win in the 5K race. Though she began the race neck-and-neck with Elgin’s top runners, Beckner broke away around the mile and one-half mark and ran her way to victory. Her time of 20:11 is one of the fastest times in Class 5A cross country this season.
Also finishing strong for the Lady Bulldogs was Olga Lopez who finished sixth with a time of 21:29, Beth Garrison who finished eighth with a time of 22:45 despite battling asthma issues during the race, Sarah Scott who finished ninth with a time of 23:02, and Autumn Goodwin who finished 10th with a time of 23:28 to round out the scorers for the Lady Bulldogs.
Other Lady Bulldog runners include Anna Merritt who finished 14th and Grayce Gilliam who finished 15th.
“I was pretty proud of the way the girls ran,” Coach Rick Patterson said. “Beckner’s time was pretty good for her first 5K and Lopez ran a personal best.”
As the Lady Bulldogs begin the toughest part of their schedule, they appear to be in good position with Beckner leading the group. Garrison has also been a solid runner for the team even with her asthma issues keeping her from performing at her best.
For the Bulldogs, Oden jumped ahead of the field in the early going and maintained his lead for the remainder of the race to finish first overall with a time of 17:31.
Calvin Wagoner finished 13th with a time of 19:18 and Jessie Benitez finished 19th with a time of 19:34 to help put the Bulldogs in a good position behind Duncan and Elgin.
Also helping out along the way was Josh Baker who finished 24th with a time of 20:17 and Michael James who finished 29th with a time of 20:34 to end the scoring for the Bulldogs.
Placing 34th was Alan Palestino and finishing 44th was jon Wathen.
The Bulldogs and the Lady Bulldogs were not the only two Altus cross country teams on the course this past weekend as the Altus Junior High boys and girls opened their season on Saturday as well.
The Dawgs took the team championship in the eight-team field with Kaysen Ybarra leading the way with a third-place finish with a time of 12:29 on the two-mile course.
Daylin McCaskill was sixth, Aiden Kille was seventh, and Justin Ortiz finished eighth for the Dawgs while Nick Borghini finished 24th for the Dawgs.
The Lady Dawgs finished sixth in the eight-team field with Nevah Kidder leading the way with a 19th-place finish with a time of 12:49 over the one and one-half mile course.
Lexi Scott finished 21st, Aphrial Palestino finished 32nd, Daisy Becerra finished 34th, and Chasity McNeal finished 39th to round out the scorers for the Lady Dawgs.
The junior high and high school cross country teams will be back in action on Friday when they travel to Elgin.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.