Two of Idaho’s top cross country runners came to a similar conclusion after competing in the Bob Firman Invitational on Saturday at Eagle Island State Park.
There’s no point in holding back.
Boise sophomore Eve Jensen and Borah junior Siyad Matan led Treasure Valley runners with fifth- and eighth-place finishes, respectively, in the elite high school races.
“You kind of just have to go for it at the start and not save yourself for the end, because it’s a really tough course,” said Jensen, who crossed the finish line of the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, 3 seconds. “You’re going to be tired at the end no matter what. It’s better to just go through the pain at the beginning.”
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While Jensen, last year’s 5A state runner-up, was competing in her second Bob Firman meet, Matan ran in the elite field for the first time in his career.
“I told him to just stay calm and let the energy from the race pull him along,” Borah coach Tim Severa said. “I think he did really well.”
With more than 175 other runners simultaneously navigating the course, Matan didn’t want to risk getting stuck behind the pack.
“They were all scared to lead, so I had to lead the first mile and a half,” Matan said.
Both Jensen and Matan led early, with Jensen dropping to third as the race reached the halfway mark along a stretch of the course known as Poplar Lane.
Matan stayed in the lead group for more than half the race, but he said a nagging right foot injury began to flare up during the second mile.
“I was in pain through the finish line,” said Matan, who ran a personal best 15:36.6.
Senior Talon Hull of Weber, Utah, won the boys race in 15:25, and Jackson Hole, Wyo., senior Anna Gibson led the girls field with a time of 17:32.1. The team titles went to the Davis (Utah) boys and the Jesuit (Ore.) girls.
BK RUNNER WINS DIVISION I RACE
Sophomore Nicholas Russell, who finished third at the 4A state meet last fall, crossed the finish line in 16:00.5 to win the Division I varsity boys race at Bob Firman by 4 seconds over Davis senior Devin Jaster. Vallivue’s Vincent Groner took third (16:05.8).
In the Division I varsity girls race, Meridian senior Mia Klopfenstein ran to a second-place finish in 18:56.7 behind Interlake (Wash.) senior Camila David-Smith, who won with a time of 18:45.9.
The Rocky Mountain girls were second in the Division I team competition with 164 points.
MOUNTAIN VIEW FRESHMAN WINS MINNESOTA RACE
Freshman Lexy Halladay earned the biggest win of her young career, besting the gold division at the Rob Griak Invitational on Saturday in Falcon Crest, Minn.
Halladay won in 18:37.9 — finishing nearly 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Karly Ackley of Grand Forks Central (N.D.) — as the Mountain View girls took second as a team.
Edina (Minn.), which is ranked No. 8 in the Saucony Flo50 national rankings, won the girls team title with 97 points. The Mavericks finished with 140 points, taking down No. 25 Claremont (Calif.).
In the boys gold race, Mountain View senior Charles Paul was 10th in 16:51.29 in a race that was won by Seth Hirsch of Millard West (N.E.), the second-ranked runner in the country.