Excitement was in the air amongst coaches, parents, and athletes on Saturday as St. Anthony hosted its first cross country meet in over a year vs. Bishop Montgomery. Although the Clark Field course may have seemed confusing to the average fan, the runners had no problem navigating through their two-lap route. The coaches and staff from both schools contributed great effort to ensure a flawless and safe race.
The common theme seemed to be the enthusiasm towards the return to competition after such a long wait.
“It’s great to get the kids back out,” Saints coach Michael Canas said. “Given all the circumstances, they pulled through. They’ve been working hard to get out here and we’re finally out here.”
Bishop Montgomery claimed victory in both girls’ and boys’ races, competing on a condensed course. Sherlyn Gomez was the girls’ winner for the Knights, posting a time of 15:13 to finish more than a minute ahead of the field. Matt Shanahan won the boys’ race in a time of 12:21 for Bishop Montgomery.
In the girls’ race, St. Anthony senior Viviana Ponce led the way for the Saints finishing seventh overall and posting a time of 19:03 on a condensed course. Ponce felt good about her performance, but most of her emotion came from the return to competition.
“I’m really happy,” she said. “I get to get out and do what I like doing which is exercising and being with my team.”
Trisha Ferrer (19:14) and Annika Ramirez (19:14.5) were the other finishers for the Saints.
As for the boys’ side, Viviana’s sophomore brother, Zahid Ponce, finished at the front of the Saints pack, placing fifth overall at 14:33. Ryan Kennelly (16:18) took seventh, Quin Donahue (16:55) was ninth, and Conner Barrett (17:10) rounded out the Top 10 finishers for the young Saints.
The St. Anthony boys’ roster is composed of only freshmen and sophomores. For some of them, including Zahid, this was their first-ever meet.
“It was the first cross country meet for me personally,” he said. “I felt good, I felt light. I’m excited for the next one.”