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Vanessa Tan – Guest Contributor
Sep 25 @ 9:00 am
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Annie Reeder at the Flower Mound Invitational photo credit: Patty Law

On September 23, the Coppell Cross Country team divided forces to compete in both the Hoka/McNeil Invitational at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock, TX and the Flower Mound Invitational at Shadow Ridge Middle School in Flower Mound.

Previewing the site of the Texas Cross Country Championship, defending champion Coppell Varsity Boys Gold showed off its depth with a competition best thirty-one second split to run to a strong 3rd place finish.  Henry Henze (16:15) and Samarth Dubey (16:16) again ran neck and neck to grab 26th and 27th team overall place respectively.  Rohit Kalpathy (16:21), Pranav Vegiraju (16:31), and Grant O’Neal (16:46) closed out the scoring.

Coach Landon Wren noted that the HOKA/McNeil Invitational had some of the toughest competition the state has to offer.  “Finishing 3rd in the Gold Division is quite the accomplishment by the boys' team.  We weren't too far away from finishing 2nd. Rohit Kalpathy, Pranav Vegiraju, and Grant O'Neal really ran good races.  Those three are starting to run well at the right time of the season.”  Coach Wren said.

Coach Wren offered similar praise for the Varsity Gold girls’ team. “On the girls' side, Maya Easterwood ran a great race.  I loved the way she attacked the course and ran a really smart race.  Lucy Martinson also ran one of her better races of the year.”

Maya Easterwood, who was 23rd overall and ran a personal best 18:59 over the hilly course, led Varsity Girls Gold.  Following closely were Mallory Scherrer (20:19), Lucy Martinson (21:19), Rachel Arrington (21:28), and Lauren Bennett (21:51).

Senior Jase Wilson (17:20) paced Varsity Boys Silver while Srivanth Rudrangi (17:34), Jayden Benjamin (17:34), Cole Stehly (18:11), and Aiden George (18:19) also had convincing showings.  “Jase Wilson ran the best in the Silver Division race”, Coach Wren said, commending the senior.

Ashyln Wilbanks continued to show the way for Varsity Girls finishing at 22:37. Hanna Noyola (23:19), Ishitha Mallidi (23:46), Pragna Vykuntam (24:02) and Sutton Rasmussen (24:08) all contended well.  Bartosz Wendland (18:34) scored the top spot among the Coppell Varsity boys, while Tanish Neelapu (18:36), Rodrigo Abrego (19:01), Krish Sirpal (19:29), Kyle Mobley (19:31) also ran good races.

Navigating the Shadow Ridge course to a 3rd place finish for Varsity Boys were Hugh Harris (15th, 18:42), Diego Morales (23rd, 19:06), Ansh Patel (30th, 19:49), Henry Hayden (19:50), and Marco Noyola (20:04).  “Hugh Harris ran one of the best races at Flower Mound”, Coach Wren said.

On the JV side, a couple of first-time competitors broke through to lead the boys to a sixth place finish and the girl’s team to third place.  Jose Murillo (7th) ran an 18:40 in his first race of the year and was ably supported by Samuel Daly (20:30), Alejandro Salama (21:06), Lukas Stumm (21:09), and Christian Todd (21:28).  Annie Reeder came back to finish 19th with a time of 23:30. Alexa Turati (24th, 24:02), Katie Kroft (26th, 24:07), Akshaya Ashokanand (24:45), Ava Pusateri (24:55) also scored for Coppell.

Next up for Coppell Cross Country is the Jesuit Classic at the Prestonwood Polo Club in Oak Point, Texas on September 30 in what will be the final meet prior to District.