Pictured from left to right are Aly Plock, Payton Gerken, Madison Gerken and Tyler Neville who all medaled at the Rim Rock Cross Country Classic this past weekend in Lawrence, Kansas.

LAWRENCE, KS- The McCool Junction Mustangs made their way down to Lawrence, Kansas this past weekend where they competed in the Rim Rock Classic.

“It was quite an experience for our teams to travel down to the Rim Rock Classic. We got to run on a very historic course with tributes to running legends like Jim Ryun, Wes Santee, and Billy Mills on the course,” said Mustangs head coach Ryan Underwood. “This course has also hosted the NCAA Division I National Championships in the past as well. Not only is the course very historic, but very challenging with its many steep up-hills and down-hills in addition to some very long hills. With all of that being said, I was ecstatic about how our kids competed.”

There were 32 teams on the girl’s side of the Blue Varsity 5K, with all the schools pretty equivalent to the same classes that the Mustangs compete against in Nebraska.

The Mustangs finished 11th of the 32 teams, as three of the five girls who counted in the team scoring medaled.

Leading the way was senior Madison Gerken who finished the course in a time of 20:06.10 in third place, just 17 seconds behind race winner Riley Hiebert of Eudora High School.

In 16th place was freshman Payton Gerken with a time of 21:14.40 and in 22nd and picking up the team’s third medal was junior Alyssa Plock with her time of 21:27.30.

Rounding out the team scoring was Gabby Rea in 154th place with a clocking of 25:13.60 and in 205th was Jessica Fuehrer with a time of 27:31.70. Also competing for the Mustangs was sophomore Carryna Light who was 219th with a time of 28:20.00

“For the girls we had three runners medal, who all finished in the top 22 out of 240 runners. Those three girls all ran the best they have ever run for 5K, on perhaps the most challenging course they have run on,” said Underwood. “Senior Madison Gerken led the way for us again. She ran the best cross country race of her Mustang career in running an 11.7 second 5K PR. At the mile mark she was in 17th place and moved herself up to 4th by the second mile mark. In the last portion of the race, that was just a little bit over a mile, she was able to catch one more girl. Madison has really been focusing on getting faster as the race goes on and she made a huge move the second mile.”

“Overall our girls were missing two of our top six and we certainly missed them at this meet as the meet scored five runners for team points. While we took a bit of a hit in their absence, we still finished 11th out of 32 teams against many top notch Kansas schools that would have been equivalent in size to Class C and D schools in Nebraska,” explained Underwood. “Our girls had a great week of competition. Our top three competed very well at Rim Rock and Sarah Vodicka did very well to earn a medal at the Randall Smith Invite last Thursday. It will be fun to get our whole squad together for our home Invite on the 10th to see what we can do all together.”

The boys were led to a 23rd place team finished by junior Tyler Neville who finished 18th overall and picked up the boys only medal. Neville’s time was 17:43.40.

In 106th was sophomore Ian Stahr (19:14.70); in 113th place was Jake Brugger a sophomore (19:18.10); in 243rd place was freshman Trent Neville (21:04.30) and rounding out the team’s scoring was sophomore Harry Yunevich with a clocking of 21:29.70 for 252nd.

“For our boys, every one of our boys ran season 5K bests. We were led again by junior Tyler Neville. Neville competed admirably in a very tough field to finish 18th out of 311 runners and earn a medal. Tyler ran a 15.4 second season personal record and held off many strong runners who made a charge to earn a medal the last mile. Our No. 2 and No. 3 runners also ran career bests. Ian Stahr ran a 34.2 second career personal record and Jacob Brugger ran a 17.2 second career PR,” said Underwood. “Those guys both ran very consistently in their races. I love the heart they showed in the middle of the race. I am excited to see how they finish their season down the stretch. Our scoring positions were rounded out by freshman Trent Neville and sophomore Harry Yunevich. Neville ran a season best by 18.8 seconds and Yunevich ran a career best by 1.1 seconds. Overall our boys finished 23rd out of 43 schools. I am very excited about the progress they are showing and am anxious to see how we will compete down the stretch.”

UNK Invite

Only three runners made their way to the University of Nebraska at Kearney Invite held at the Kearney Country Club on Monday.

Sophomore Caleb Weisheit ran a 26:17.60 to finish in 197th on the State Cross Country course; in 201st was freshman Garrett Hansen with a 26:.28.70 and finishing in 252nd was sophomore Bryan Schwartz with a 32:40.70.

No girls competed for the Mustangs at the event.

Next up for the Mustangs will be their home invite on Thursday, October 10 at Camp Kateri.

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