Cross country runs at Nike Invitational

Eric Van Allen

     The Cedar Park Cross Country team has caused quite a stir around the country. The team was ranked number one in the nation at the start of the year. This placement was determined by the running times from several small competitions they attended across the state. With five of the best runners in the nation on their team, they hoped to compete at the Nike Cross Invitational again, and top last year’s eighth place finish.

     Their season started off with a bang in their first UIL competition. They competed in the District meet at Old Settler’s Park October 26 and won first in the district, taking four of the top five positions.   They continued on to the State meet, finishing third overall. Parker Stinson placed third overall runner in Boy’s Varsity. From there, the Cross country team competed at the Woodlands qualifier for the Nike Cross Invitational. This competition, one of nine being held across the country, would determine which teams would compete in the Nike Cross Invitational. Only the top two teams could continue on to Nationals. The boys placed third, one spot away from qualifying, but they were selected as one of four, wild card teams to be invited to Nationals.

     The team faced some great adversities on the way to Nationals, however. During the course of the season, Bobby McIllece, senior, was injured, and three members of the team came down with the flu shortly before the National meet.  Despite these setbacks they placed 11 at Nationals out of 22 teams in attendance. While this was not the result they had hoped for, the boys still had a bright outlook on the event and their placement.

     “I’m a little let down because we were expecting higher all year,” said Cameron Shoppach, senior. “But eleventh in the nation is not bad, so I’m not going to complain about it.”

     Although the guys were unable to achieve their goals, they did remarkably well this season. The 2009 Cedar Park Cross Country team has definitely set a standard of excellence for future runners at this school.