By ERIC VICCARO
IRONTON — Valle Catholic High School cross country runners Madelyn Griffard and Camryn Basler employed a pack mentality at the top.
Griffard and Basler placed second and third, respectively, at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 2 girls’ district race on Saturday at Arcadia Valley Sports Complex.
Meanwhile on the boys’ side, after jockeying for position through the midway point of the Class 1 race, Valle Catholic junior Peter Roth emerged and earned medalist honors in a time of 17:26.96 — 12 seconds ahead of Winona’s Kaiden VanWinkle.
Longtime Valle Catholic head cross country coach Samer Zoughaib admired the Warriors’ ability to battle through adversity.
“We had a lot of the kids not 100 percent when they ran on Saturday,” Zoughaib admitted, “lots of coughing and hacking. Madelyn wasn’t feeling that well; but, she soldiered on and ran for her teammates. Camryn ran smart as usual, and let the race come to her.”
Griffard, a freshman, clocked in at 21:33.71 while Basler, a senior, recorded a time of 21:34.48 — and the Valle girls claimed the district championship with 63 points, 10 better than host Arcadia Valley.
As for the boys, Zoughaib noted: “Peter did his job, which was to win district, and that he did. His personal record is 17:14.”
Zoughaib was proud of the Warriors’ bottom four boys’ runners, who helped break a tie with Van Buren for district runner-up honors. Oak Ridge totaled 70 points, 22 points fewer than both Valle and Van Buren.
That means both Valle Catholic’s boys and girls will be competing as entire teams for the first time since 2012.
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