Pam Pack cross country dominating

Published 2:53 pm Friday, September 30, 2016

In the preseason rankings, the Washington girls’ cross country team was picked to finish fourth. It turns out no one told the girls that piece of information. The Pam Pack girls were led by Runner-of-the-Year candidate, Kennedy Landen, to victories over Farmville Central and North Johnston, 35-37-52.

Landen won the 5K race with a time of 23:14, more than a minute faster than second place. Landen has not lost a race in tri-meets this year. The only time she has not won a race is at the Invitationals. She placed 10th at the Pam Pack Invitational against runners from 22 schools, and 7th at the Bo Run Invitational against runners from 39 schools.

The only blemish on the girls’ record was a one-point loss at Farmville Central two weeks ago. Wednesday’s race pitted the top three school in the conference against each other.

Cross-country coach Toby McMahon explained, “The race against Farmville was decided by one of our runners going the wrong way. The girls took it as a challenge and came ready to run and redeem themselves.”

Ninth-graders Micaela Anderson and Fatima Torres placed 5th and 6th, and first-year runner Julissa Perez placed 11th. Five of the first eight runners to cross the finish line for the Pack were first-year high school runners.

“Having so many new girls come in and compete for the top sports has really helped the team.” McMahon said. “Also, having a middle school cross-country team means that freshman who come to high school with racing experience.”

Racing in middle school has helped Anderson as she placed 25th at the Bo Run and was the fifth fastest ninth grader.

The Pam Pack was not going to be out done. Their only loss was to Farmville Central by 18 points. Wednesday, the result was never in doubt. The Pack placed six runners in the top 10 to win 23-33-82.

Seniors Jacob Smith and Austin Coward placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, with Trippe Bonner, Ricardo Hernandez, Austin Koonce, and Simeon Pope placing in the top 10. “Two week ago, the boys got caught off guard a little,” McMahon explained. “This time we wanted them to run as a pack. We were fine letting Farmville take the first-place runner, but we wanted to dominate the rankings after that. After the loss, the boys needed to refocus what they were doing and how they were training.”

With the conference race three weeks ago, both the boys and girls cross-country teams are eyeing a championship.