The Highland High School boys cross country team placed three underclassmen in positions 9-11 out of 102 runners of the freshmen/sophomore race Saturday at the Springfield Invitational.
Sophomore Brylee Portell, sophomore Nick Hanratty and freshman Easton Rosen all finished back-to-back-to-back within two seconds of one another, with Portell leading the way in ninth place at 18:00. Hanratty was just one second back in 10th at 18:01 and Rosen came in 11th at 18:02.
Those three helped the freshmen/sophomore squad place fourth out of 14 competing teams.
“Pairing those finishes with senior Gabe Sherrill’s 18:08 in the varsity race, we would’ve had an 0:08 split from our number one through number four runner,” said Highland coach Doug Bradley, those cross country teams compete at the Triad Invitational on Wednesday before traveling for the Jacksonville Invitational on Saturday. “These guys practice together and push each other. Each one is capable of being number one and they all pull for each other.”
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Sherrill finished 41st out of 130 competitors in the varsity race.
Race time temperatures were in the 80s early, but by the 11:45 race, it had probably hit 90.
“These aren’t good conditions to run in, and the heat affects each athlete a bit differently,” Bradley said. “I think it contributed to an inconsistent day for us, but it’s still critical that a team competes, regardless of the weather. I’m not sure the whole team came to do that today.”
At the Edwardsville Invitational held on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville a week earlier on Saturday, Sept. 16, Sherrill led the varsity Bulldogs with a 19th-place finish out of 183 harriers in 17:57.
In the JV race, Hanratty, Rosen and Portell helped the Bulldogs finish third out of 10 competing squads.
Hanratty showed the way with a third-place finish out of 102 runners with a time of 18:35, while Rosen wound up fifth at 18:44, and Portell crossed the finish line in 10th at 19:12.