It was a windy afternoon, especially north of Altus at the Bill Luderson Park.
The Altus High School men’s and women’s cross-country teams were set to take on teams from as far north as Woodward to teams as far east as Lawton and Tuttle.
It was the Altus Invitational cross-country meet — the high school teams last meet before the regional meet in Norman.
The was the course was set up — runners ran west for a stretch and turned north for a short jaunt, before turning back toward the south for a long straightaway. The straightaway was the longest stretch of the course, capped off with an uphill climb before runners turned to go back down the hill and continue to the finish.
The straightaway was also forced competitors to run straight into the wind, affecting their times and ultimately their seeding going into the regional meet.
Despite that handicap, the Lady Bulldogs once more came out on top to take the team title in the women’s 5K run.
Although several runners faced breathing issues, the Lady Bulldogs started strong with Olga Lopez and Beth Garrison seizing the top two spots in the early going. Garrison overtook Lopez briefly, before Lopez seized the lead for good after the fourth turn on her way to a first place finish.
Lopez finished first with a time of 23:47, followed by Garrison who posted a time of 24:37, Francis Tapia with a time of 25:56, and Grace Hernke with a time of 26:03, grabbing the top four places for the Lady Bulldogs before a runner from Woodward outran Itzel Flores to the finish to put Flores in sixth with a time of 26:43.
Other runners for the Lady Bulldogs were Chauncey Beckner in ninth, Hadley David in 13th, and Leeliana Villarreal in 16th.
The men’s team took third overall, falling to Tuttle and Lawton MacArthur.
They had a strong start as well with Ryan Oden running a large portion of the race in the third position before falling to fourth coming into the final stretch.
Oden took fourth with a time of 19:20, Josh Baker was 12th with a time of 20:39, Alan Palestino was 19th with a time of 21:11, Calvin Wagoner was 24th with a time of 21:33, and Jessie Benitez was 25th, following less than a second behind Wagoner with a time of 21:33.92.
Other runners for the men’s team were Macel Canterbury in 27th, Jovani Cardona in 29th, Trevor Busby in 37th, Adrian Aviles in 40th, Jon Wathen in 41st, Abron Hernandez in 42nd and William Chavez in 63rd.
The women’s team was ranked 15th in Class 5A going into the Altus Invitational, while the men’s team fell out of the top 15 ranking. Each runner will await his or her seeding for the regional meet scheduled for Oct. 22 in Norman.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.