Cedar Creek cross country coach Craig Moss shouldn’t have to worry about the team trophies getting scratched up on the ride back to the school. The Cougars hosted the Cedar Creek Cross Country Meet at Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston on Saturday morning winning both girls’ and boys’ titles. The ride back to Cedar Creek High School is only a half mile further than the hilly, pine tree-laced 3-mile course the runners traversed.
Freshman Mattie Stinson led the way for the Lady Cougars finishing fifth overall with a 23:04. On the boys’ side it was sophomore Gabe Poulin, who finished 2nd overall to Lakeside’s Eric Greene. Both runners were given a time of 17:02.
Lakeside junior Alissa Landers claimed the top prize on the girls’ side, finishing the course in 19:55, 3 seconds ahead of Marissa Perez, who competed for the Christian Homeschool Association NE.
For Moss, it wasn’t as much about place as it was having the Cougars do what cougars, the non-mascot variety, normally don’t — run in a pack.
“Running well in a pack is how teams score well in cross country,” Moss said. “We worked hard on that aspect this week and I could see that it helped.”
Kinslee Spatafora, Lauren Osafo, and Annamari Farrar finished in the top 11 for Cedar Creek girls’ team that finished fourth in LHSAA 1A State Meet in 2014.
“Our girls were more consistent this week in practice,” Moss said. “We are ahead of where we were this time last year and really think that these girls have the heart to move into the second or third place sport at the state meet.”
The Cedar Creek boys’ team finished as the state runner up last year to Ascension Catholic (38-75). Moss feels like they are ready to contend for the state title this season. “I could not be more proud of them,” Moss said. “They are strong. They are running with a lot of heart.”
Landers led Lakeside’s Lady Warriors to a second place finish with 78 points, 36 points behind the Lady Cougars. The Byrd girls’ team finished fourth with 125 points.
Sophomore Grace Loften, who had the highest finish of her career a week ago at the Byrd meet, had another impressive performance finished 6th overall at Cedar Creek with a time of 23:09.
“It was hard,” Loften said of the course. “It was hard to keep a good pace with all of the hills on the course.”
Loften has found herself in a new role this year for the Lady Yellow Jackets this season. She is Byrd’s No. 1 runner on the girls’ side. Loften credits running track in the spring and her running several 5K races this summer for her performance.
Byrd cross country coach Martin Poole likes the way that his star pupil’s season is progressing. “She never misses a workout,” Poole said. “She continues to run well week in and week out.”