The Country Day cross-country team kicked off the season with all nine of its current members present at the Lodi Flame Invitational at Lodi High School.
The top finisher was freshman Zak Wright, who clocked in at 11:51 and placed 13th in the boys’ two-mile freshman. The winning time was 10:55.
Freshman Mackenzie McLeod placed 65th in the girls’ two-mile freshman, completing it with a time of 21:10.
Sophomore Heidi Johnson began her season by placing 37th after running the girls’ two-mile sophomore in 16:03. The winning time was 13:30.
Although not her best race, Johnson said she isn’t upset.
“I am not in great shape yet,” Johnson said.
“But I know it’s early in the season, so I can’t be disappointed with my race at this point.”
In the varsity boys’ 5000-meter, seniors Christian Van Vleck, Aidan Cunningham, Emil Erickson, Jaelan Trapp and Adam Dean placed 158th, 164th, 166th, 180th and 184th respectively, with times of 23:26, 24:30, 25:27, 29:55 and 31:07. There were 185 totals in the varsity boys’ 5000-meter.
This was Cunningham’s first race, and he said he is still getting used to the competitive environment.
“I guess it’s just hard for me because I have never really raced competitively,” Cunningham, who plays lacrosse and soccer, said.
Coach Nick Domich said that the varsity boys placed low because they rushed at the start.
“(They) went out too fast and paid the price,” Domich said.
“Better too fast than too slow, though. We are racing, not running.”
“We thought we should try to get up front so that we wouldn’t be slowed when the race track became very narrow,” Erickson said.
Placings aside, Domich said he has goals for this team.
“We have a full team (of seven boys) and plan on winning back the league title,” Domich said.
To achieve this, the boys have a common goal: proper pacing.
Country Day won eight consecutive league titles before losing three years in a row.
Last year, Country Day didn’t have a boys’ team.
Domich and Johnson said they would also like more female runners.
Johnson said she feels optimistic about this season.
“Our race went well,” she said.
“Considering it was the first of the season, it was a good starting point to now build on and improve upon as the season develops.”