Marlow Cross Country Running Up 4A Hill

by Elizabeth Pitts-Hibbard

The Marlow varsity boys came in third and the varsity girls were fifth at the Bethany Invitational cross country meet on Friday, September 16. Competition is heating up this season after Marlow’s move to Class 4A, and the Outlaws are gearing up for more challenges in the coming weeks.

“We had a bunch of good competition [at Bethany] that allowed us to step out of our comfort zone once again and see how we would respond,” head coach Mikey Evans said.

“This was the perfect meet for us to get a feel for where we stand in the 4A Class,” said assistant coach Matt Ivory.

The boys’ third-place finish came in behind Plainview and Bethany.

“Plainview and Bethany are both Top 5 teams and there was other good competition individually as well,” Ivory said. “We held up very well and I also think our guys saw that they really can compete at this level. This team is running faster than last year at the same time and our team chemistry is really good. All of these guys really like and support each other.”

Ean Hewitt, who placed sixth with a personal record time of 17:18, led the Outlaws, followed closely by Tyler Brown (17:31, 8th).

“Ean Hewitt just keeps getting better this year…His work ethic in practice is really paying off,” Ivory said. “Tyler Brown is really regaining his early fitness after a recent illness. He races with great confidence and is practicing very well.”

Confidence will be key for the Outlaws going forward in a different class, and Ivory mentioned several team members whose confidence is paying off, including Kade Sullivan (18:41, 17th) and Tommy Miller (19:19, 26th).

“[Miller] ran an unbelievably good race today,” Ivory said. “Just a freshman, he has a lot of confidence and a great engine.

Other team members include Caleb Sloan (19.35, 29th), Micheal Weston (20:00, 34th), Jackson Salie (21:37, 53rd), Miguel Lara (22:23, 56th), Erick Busch (25:11, 67th), Tyler Craft 25:22, 70th), and Aiden Duke (27:19, 78th).

Eaves said that the Lady Outlaws were battling challenges at practice but he was proud of their performance.

“The girls had a really tough week of practice, which made this meet a little harder than normal,” Eaves said. “But they stepped up and really ran well. This is a smaller group than normal so relying on each other is very crucial and staying healthy is just as important.”

Gracee Ottinger finished first among the Marlow girls and 15th overall with a time of 13:46.

“[Ottinger] is just a freshman and really has one of the most competitive natures to a girl that I have seen,” Eaves said. “She is also participating in softball which is a really tough chore, but she is getting the work she needs in to be successful for this year.”

Finishing close behind Ottinger was senior Kyah Blundell, at 13:48 for 17th place.

“She is a really good kid and a good leader to this group,” Eaves said of Blundell, who is the lone senior on the girls’ team. “This race she was determined to go get in the medals and that she did, running a great race.”

Eaves added that Brileigh Soell has been making great strides in the program.

“She is figuring out that she can be really good at this sport and it all started last year in track,” Eaves said. “I look for her to do some great things the rest of the season.”

Rounding out the girls varsity team are Katelyn Reynolds, Jessica Bayless, Haylee Daniel, and Lauren Ivory.

“[They] are all really working at practice which is improving each of their times; I am excited to see each of these girls step up and really help this team this year,” Eaves said.

The teams run next at Velma-Alma on September 27.