Spartan runners cash in on home-course advantage

Bainbridge runner Willie Wenzlau placed second overall and first for the BHS team during the home meet Wednesday at Battlepoint Park. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Bainbridge runner Willie Wenzlau placed second overall and first for the BHS team during the home meet Wednesday at Battlepoint Park.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

The girls cross country team took advantage of its only home meet with a commanding victory over Lakeside and Nathan Hale on Wednesday.

The Spartans dominated the flat course at Battle Point Park, claiming six of the top seven spots.

Senior Emily Barreca took first place, recording a personal record of 19 minutes, 30 seconds, followed by Annie Taylor (19:57) and Isabel Ferguson (20:21).

"We're trying to focus on the Metro Championship and the districts," coach Anne Howard-Lindquist said. "They've been training since last winter consistently. They're at another level."

With strong leadership and consistency from its key runners, the girls team aims to qualify for the state meet as a team.

“You want your top 10 to be as close together as possible,” Howard-Lindquist said. "Four to seven are the key people for us. They're getting closer to the top three.”

To achieve its goal, the team has focused on speed work and decreasing mile times.

"Our team wants to try to get a little closer together," Taylor said. "We definitely work off together, helping each other push and get closer to Emily."

Taylor, who also set a new personal record at Battle Point, credits the crowd with bolstering her success.

"That's a big part of why I had a good race, because there are lots of people," Taylor said. "I know a lot of the community is there cheering for us."

In the boys meet, Lakeside runners took first and third place, clinching the meet with 27 points. The Spartans finished third in the meet with 58 points, led by senior Willie Wenzlau. Wenzlau, who placed second with 17:46 , earned Bainbridge’s only top-10 finish.

Senior Sean LaBelle and freshman Tomas Delgado finished 12th and 17th, respectively.

"Our guys have some really young runners," Howard-Lindquist said. "They don't know how good they are."

The Spartans will run their last regular season contest on October 16 at Lower Woodland Park, the site of the Metro Championships and district meet.

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