Homecourt advantage isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Mountain View runner Lexy Halladay knows that as well as anyone.
Halladay, now a senior, won the Bob Firman Invitational in 2017. She has also collapsed on the course twice in previous years, she said, due to illnesses and dehydration.
On Saturday, Halladay evened up the score with the course, winning the 45th annual Bob Firman Invitational elite girls race with a time of 17:31.2, more than 20 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
“It’s home course. We train here all the time,” Halladay, who did not run in the race a year ago, said. “We have a love hate relationship. I win some and it wins some.”
The Bob Firman Invitational at Eagle Island State Park is among the largest cross-country races in the Northwest, with 147 schools entered and 5,024 total entries, per race director Ryan Canning. The course is 5 kilometers long.
The Boise High girls team took third overall (169 points) in the girls elite race. The team won the event last year, the first time a Boise school had claimed a team title in boys or girls since 2004.
“We didn’t run great in spots. Looked a little flat at times, and they know that,” Boise coach Aaron Olswanger said. “We have a lot of things to work on.”
Lone Peak and Springville High, both of Utah, finished first and second in the team standings, respectively. Eagle (8th) and Mountain View (9th) finished in the top 10 as well.
Individually, Rosina Machu (9th) and Mikella Tobin (25th) of Boise and Lizzie Dildine (11th) and Ashley Lajocies (22nd) of Eagle had strong finishes.
On the boys side, Rocky Mountain was the highest local team finisher, placing 26th. Utah’s Corner Canyon and Davis High finished in the top two spots, respectively.
Borah’s Nathan Green, who took third individually last year in the boys elite race, did not finish Saturday’s race. Skyline’s Thomas Boyden won with a time of 14:59.5.
Olswanger understands Halladay’s love-hate relationship with the course at Eagle Island. His teams run the course up to four times a year. The course can get monotonous, he said, though he personally enjoys it due to its varied race elements, like sand and hills.
Though last year’s win in the race was impressive, Olswanger knows that events early in a season aren’t the end all, be all. He does, however, see room for improvement.
“We have too many kids that I think doubted themselves and doubted their abilities today. And there’s no reason for that. Absolutely no reason for that,” Olswanger said. “We’re going to work on that.”
Saturday’s win was special for Halladay, who has battled stress fractures the last couple of years. Conquering Eagle Island Park one more time meant a great deal to her. It’s a sign that her perseverance paid off in a big way.
“I’ve had a lot in my way. If it weren’t for my family, coaches and teammates, I just don’t know where I’d be,” Halladay said. “I definitely wouldn’t have won today without them.”