The Jefferson girls varsity cross country team was not at its best Saturday at the Cape Notre Dame Invitational. The team ran hard, but finished ninth out of 15 teams in the competition. Jefferson accumulated 221 points, nine shy of eighth place St. Pius, and 15 points ahead of tenth place Dexter. DeSoto won the event with 50 points.
“It’s hard to say the girls didn’t have a great race this weekend when several of the girls posted new PRs or season bests,” head coach Mollie Rhodes pointed out. “But in the end, they didn’t run the way we needed them to as a team.”
Senior Cheney Ervin was the top Blue Jay finisher taking 32nd place with a time of 22:40.98. Chelsea Badger and Kaelyn Nilson ended the race in 55th and 56th place respectively. Badger clocked in at 23:43.65, while Nilson came in at 23:45.70. Nilson’s time represented a season best for her. “Kaelyn has a lot of potential, and as a freshman, she is still figuring out how to run and pace herself,” Rhodes explained. “At this new distance, she is really starting to hit her stride, and I am excited to see how she finishes the season out”
The team scoring was rounded out by Katie Deevers (67th/24:36.31), and Peyton Cattoor (82nd/25:18.88). Cattoor also ran a new PR on the course. “Peyton is a sophomore and running her first season of cross country as well,” Rhodes summarized. “But unlike Kaelyn, she does not have the advantage of having run cross country in middle school, so she really has a steep learning curve. She is willing to do the work and push herself. And she is extremely coachable and listens to what Coach Wright and I have to say. She is also a competitor, and I know she wants to do more than what she has so far. So while this race was a PR for her, I know she is not done improving yet.”
Four girls ran in the JV race and there were some positive results for the Jays. “The girls running in the JV race had a chance to just focus on themselves and their personal goals,” Coach Rhodes said. “Hannah Wigger ran a season best (25:39.06) and was in the medals in 23rd place. And Josephine Mijarez also had huge jump to a new season best at this race as well (26:55.78/33rd). Overall, I am proud of how all the girls fought through this race, especially those that weren’t having their best race.” Kiersten Vandeven took 35th place at 27:11.78, and Gabby Beffa finished 38th at 27:29.48.
Rhodes said the girls will get a bit of a break this week. “They will have next weekend off so they can enjoy homecoming, and we will make sure to put the work in this week and really focus on their goals as a team and individuals,” she said. “The end of the season is quickly approaching. I know these girls have more to give, and I know they are determined. We will see what they can make happen in these last few weeks of the season.”