El Dorado split its cross country team and competed in two meets Saturday. Coach John Koonce took a squad to the Little Rock Classic while assistant coach Rachael Gavin entered a group in the Warrior Invitational in Texarkana.
“First off, I just want to say how great it was for the athletes to have an opportunity to compete. I appreciate the meet directors from both of these meets for pulling it off when a lot of other places are cancelling. It wasn't easy, and it looked different, but I think the staff from both places did a great job,” said Koonce.
“We had to do something a little different this week in sending our teams in two different directions. Both of these meets capped the entries at 10 and I thought it was important for all of our athletes to get out there and compete after working so hard all summer. We sent an ‘A’ team to Little Rock and a ‘B’ team to Trinity. Both groups stepped up and did well.”
Koonce said the meet in Little Rock was loaded with runners. The varsity boys placed 13th out of 35 teams represented and 21 full teams.
“The Little Rock meet was a great opportunity to see where we are to start the year out,” he said. “There were 45 teams represented from all parts of the state. Seven or eight of those schools are schools that will be contending for a state championship this season.”
Jadon Cunningham led the Wildcats, placing 10th out of 186 runners.
“He was able to knock off quite a few runners that he wasn't able to beat last year,” said Koonce. “He is starting the year about where he left off last year, so it is important for him to build from here and keep improving to finish his high school career the way he wants.”
The varsity boys top five was rounded out by Alvin Gonzalez, Edwin Gonzalez, Calvin Huang, and Eloy Rodriguez.
The varsity girls were led by Melanie Miller, who placed 40th out 150 athletes.
“She wasn't thrilled with her time, but I thought her effort was where it needed to be,” Koonce said. “The heat and hills played a factor, so I look for her to improve as the season goes on.
“Priya Dod PR'd by over two minutes. She was very excited and already looking forward to the next race.”
The girls were rounded out by Emily Huddleston and Eliza Brewster.
“I was very happy with both of our junior high teams today,” said Koonce. “They both beat teams that we haven't beat in the four years that I have been with the program.”
The junior boys placed 11th out of 23 full teams and 35 represented. Jacob Neugebauer led the way, placing 41st out of 208 competitors. He was followed closely by Cooper Conner, Zachary McMillon, Jay Reep, and Nic Harvey.
The junior girls placed eighth out of 19 complete teams and 30 teams represented. Carly Meadows led the way, placing 33rd out of 175 athletes.
Trinity Christian School hosted the Warrior Invitational in Texarkana.
Parkers Chapel’s Ali Looney finished third in the senior girls’ division with an unofficial time of 21:49. Freshmen Bella Frisby and Franzi Kahlert placed 14th and 22nd, respectively, out of 45 runners.
Landon Moore, Spencer Frisby, Wyatt New, Patrick Copes and Collin Savell competed for the Trojans.
Gavin carried El Dorado’s young group to Texarkana.
"We are awaiting the official results from Trinity,” she said. “Dunte Maker and Alex Espinoza worked together leading the varsity boys’ group. In the junior girls’ race, Jaelynn Dumas led the pack with Kelly Hayden and Ainsley Colvin having a great start to their 7th grade season. Next, the junior boys were also led by 7th graders working together to finish strong. Cyrus Eads and Aysa Bryant had a great start to their careers as well.”