When the Schuyler Central High School boys and girls cross country teams competed at the Logan View Invitational last Thursday afternoon, it didn’t come as a major surprise in the girls event that senior Edith Oliden crossed the finish line in sixth place. What did come as a tremendous surprise for the ladies was sophomore Marisol Deanda far out-distancing the rest of the field, winning the event by over 30 seconds.

Deanda’s winning time of 21:31.67 outpaced the runner-up time of 22:08.86 by Emma Bixler of Neligh-Oakdale. Oliden finished with a time of 23:20.05, nearly two minutes off the pace set by Deanda.

Nearly as impressive as Marisol’s performance was the fact that the girls finished in second place as a team with 47 points. Wahoo Neumann won the girls race with 40 points while Oakland-Craig captured third place with 57 team points.

“The girls fought so hard in the heat and it really paid off," coach Cortland Cassidy said. "Marisol ran smart and controlled for the first half of the race before taking the lead and eventually winning the race by about 40 seconds. She has a bright future in this sport for being so young.”

“Edith ran strong the whole race and even found a group of runners to compete with throughout the race. This helped with her final time. She provides a lot of experience and leadership for our team.”

As for the runner-up team finish, Cassidy said there wasn't any pre-race conversation about team goals.

“Finishing in second place wasn’t something we talked about going into this race. If we had our third runner finish the race, we would have won the whole meet and I think that gives the girls so much confidence to start the season out on. That is really important to have in this sport.”

Other runners for SCHS were: Niurka Castro (21st) 27:28.78, Kathryn Tzvnux (27th) 29:14.86, Melissa Escobar (33rd) 30:09.16 and Natalie Carreto (36th) 30:56.19.

“I’m so proud of these girls,” said Cassidy. “When I came in, we changed everything from our stretches, workouts, core and strength routines, to our training in general. The girls have never complained or sighed at anything I ask them to do. Our new dedication and training are the keys to our success, and I can’t wait for the girls to experience the rest of the season.”

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The boys team decided not to rebuild in 2019 but rather to reload. After losing two state qualifiers off the 2018 squad, this year’s group put on a stellar performance, as well, with a second-place finish in the boys event.

Three of the SCHS boys finished in the top 10 with Eduardo Carrasco taking third with a time of 18:48.32, Kenny Mejia finishing eighth with a time of 19:16.96 and Hugo Ramon finishing ninth place with a time of 19:18.61. The fourth varsity runner was Emmanuel Zuniga, and he finished 18th with a time of 20:16.17.

Boys Town won the boys team title with 30 points while Schuyler finished with 38 points. Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur grabbed third place team honors with a score of 41 while the host Logan View Raiders finished in fourth place with 47 points.

“I was very pleased with how the boys ran, especially considering most of them did very little running this summer," boys coach Rick Carter said. "Eduardo’s third-place finish was very impressive considering he had only been able to practice seven times before the race. I was also excited to see how well Kenny ran. Kenny ran over 400 times this summer and it has moved him up from middle junior varsity to second man on varsity.

"Hugo Ramon, Emmanuel Zuniga, and Gavin Bywater all ran excellent races as well.”

Bywater finished in 29th with a time of 20:41.18 and had the second-highest finish by any freshman runner in the boys event, finishing two spots behind fellow varsity newcomer Caleb Schlichting of Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur.”

“The boys have been training hard and are just beginning to get in shape,” said Carter. “I expect that they are going to improve significantly as we move through the season. I have been helped out greatly by Joel Carrillo. He has been at nearly every practice and has been running with the varsity boys and has been motivating and pushing them. That has allowed me to concentrate on the rest of the team, and I think that is a huge benefit for them. I expect that everyone is going to improve significantly this year.”

The annual Schuyler Invitational Jr/Sr High Cross Country Meet will be held this Thursday, Sept. 5 on Higgins Drive by the golf course beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Doug Phillips is a freelance writer for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net.

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