The Melissa cross country teams spanned the globe (or at least the immediate globe) this past week in search of upper-tier competition.
The boys team traveled to Denton for the Justin Northwest Invitational, while the girls team crossed state lines to run in the Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla.
The boys roster was split between the Class 3A and 5A races, but they were led once again by Trace Greer, who placed 30th in the Elite race.
The girls, meanwhile, placed 10th as a team in the 6A division at the Jamboree, their highest finish as a team. This was the 77th running of the Cowboy Jamboree, making it the longest-running cross country meet in the nation. The girls were led by senior Jackii Thomas.
"Jackii has spent the last few weeks recovering from an injury, but it looks like she’s finally coming around," Melissa coach Michael Bardgett said. "She has looked great in workouts so it was good to see that transfer over to a good race."
Filling out the boys squad were freshmen John Slavin and Jack Clemans — who set personal records on Saturday — sophomore Kathan Price and senior Hunter Mark.
"The boys have run three consecutive grueling races against top competition and I think their bodies were a little worse for wear on Saturday," Bardgett said. "They’ve got a week off to rest and recover before the late-season push towards hopefully qualifying for regionals for the second consecutive year."
Finishing after Thomas on the girls side were juniors Kambri Gabel, Sophie Bennett and Kailey Burton and freshman Megan Brown.
"Three of the girls set PRs on Saturday, while the other two basically did the same thing in their last race," Bardgett said. "So they all should have a lot of confidence going forward after showing that even early in the season they’re in the best shape of their lives. The girls were without our number one runner, Ashley New, for the second consecutive meet, but we expect her to make her debut this week at the Nike South Invitational at The Woodlands if all goes well. It’ll be the first time to have our top 5 runners on the same course, so that’ll be nice to see."
The boys will be off this week and their next race will be the Melissa XC Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 12.
The girls will travel to The Woodlands for the prestigious Nike South XC Invitational on Saturday.