The Highland High School girls cross country team took second place at the season-opening Highland Kickoff Meet Tuesday at Alhambra Township Park.
Triad won the five-team girls’ race with a meet-low team score of 42 points, with the Lady Bulldogs close behind at 52 points.
Mater Dei wound up third with a score of 68, followed by Carbondale at 72 and Collinsville bringing up the distant rear at 113.
Highland freshman Kate Marti had a good introduction to high school cross country. Despite it being her first time out, Marti comfortably set the pace for the Lady Bulldogs with a third-place finish after traversing the 3-mile course in 21 minutes, 4 seconds.
Sophomore Breann Wernle and freshman Lily Becker also scored top-10 finishes for Highland as the duo consecutively crossed the finish line just two seconds apart in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Wernle completed the course with a finishing time of 22:06 and Becker was right on her tail at 22:08.
Also counting toward Highland’s runner-up team score were junior Courtney Hengehold in 13th place (22:41) and junior Sarah Jansen in 21st place (23:55).
In the boys’ race, Carbondale easily ran away with the team title with a team score of 22 points. Mater Dei was a distant second at 53, followed by Collinsville ( 83), Triad (87) and Highland (109).
The Bulldogs were without their best runner, Jacob Plocher, which very well could have cost them up to two finishing positions as a team.
Sophomore Caleb Machuca led Highland with a 12th-place finish and a team-best time of 19:08.
Also scoring for the Bulldogs were junior Brett Cochran (17th place, 19:57), junior Brock Schrage (24th, 20:40), freshman Isaac Jones (31st, 20:56) and freshman Joe Gallo (33rd, 21:11).