CHEYENNE – Kaya Pillivant was still deciding when to make her move for the lead with only a few hundred meters left in Friday afternoon’s Leroy Sprague Invitational cross-country meet.
The Cheyenne Central senior and Pine Bluffs-Burns senior Emma Gonzalez were running side by side as they separated from the field during the second kilometer of the 5-kilometer race. Gonzalez eventually took the lead in the third kilometer as Pillivant weighed her options.
Then Alison Morrell – the mother Central junior Sydney Morrell – caught Pillivant’s ear.
“She told me to make my move at a time I wasn’t sure I was going to,” Pillivant said.
But Pillivant did make her move at that point, and crossed the finish line in 18 minutes, 50.62 seconds to win the race. Central put all five of its scoring runners in the top 10 to claim the team title with 22 points.
“I don’t think I would have made my move at all if (Alison Morrell) hadn’t said something. I was pretty comfortable with where I was and my pace,” Pillivant said. “I usually have a good kick, and (Gonzalez) is fast. I thought I was OK as long as the gap didn’t get any bigger.
“I heard (Alison Morrell) tell me to make my move, and figured I might as well go for it.”
Pillivant has had mixed results at the Leroy Sprague meet over the course of her career, so Friday’s win was especially sweet.
“I’ve never done well here, so my No. 1 goal was to just finish the race without complaining about it too much,” she said with a laugh. “Weather has been my biggest issue on this course. It seems like every time we run here it is freezing or snowing.
“We had good conditions, so that helped me out.”
The race was contested under overcast skies and temperatures were in the high 60s. Those were the ideal conditions for Gonzalez to reset the Pine-Burns school record of 19:19 she tied at last week’s Wheatland Invite. Gonzalez shattered the mark with a time of 19:01.18 on Friday.
“I felt really good about how I was running and was confident as I took the lead while we went up the hill,” Gonzalez said. “My big mistake was trying to pull ahead too soon. If I paced myself a little bit longer, I might have been able to win the race.
“(Pillivant) is a really good athlete, and so is Sydney (Morrell). Running the way I did against them puts me in a really good place going into regionals and state. I showed everyone I could hang with the big dogs.”
Morrell finished third at 19:28.12. Central also had Rian Cordell-Reiner (fifth), Emma Hofmeister (seventh) and Lauren Clark (ninth) finish in the top 10.
Cheyenne East was second in the team race. Ynes Ronnau was the Lady Thunderbirds’ top finisher, hitting the line in 20:07.5 to take eighth. Mikaila Trujillo placed 10th at 20:21.38.
Central also won the boys team title with 21 points. The Indians put all of their scoring runners in the top 10.
Senior Jacob Frentheway won the race in 16:10.18. His twin brother, Jason, was second at 16:30.05.
“I was able to run a pretty good race, but it was hard because there weren’t many schools here,” Jacob Frentheway said. “I might have been able to run faster with more competition, but it was still a good race.
“You have to have a plan and know what you can do. You have to block everyone else out and focus on what you’re doing.”
The Indians also had Bridger Brokaw take third (16:37.92), Will Barrington finish fifth (16:58.59) and Trevor Schmidt capture 10th (17:33.93). The meet win is Central’s fifth in seven tries this fall. They also have a runner-up finish to their name.
“Our team is very happy with what we’re doing right now,” Jacob Frentheway said. “The goal is always what we do in those postseason meets. We’re keeping that common goal in mind and working together.”
Added Jacob Frentheway: “It’s nice because we always have teammates there pushing us. It’s great to have people you can always run with.”
East was third in the team standings. Jonathan Christensen captured fifth for the T-Birds with a time of 17:04.85.
LEROY SPRAGUE INVITATIONAL
at Kingham Prairie View Golf Course – Cheyenne
1. Cheyenne Central 22; 2. Cheyenne East 63; 3. Laramie 72; 4. Pine Bluffs-Burns 110; 5. Torrington 132; 6. Saratoga 135.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Pillivant, Central, 18:50.62; 2. Gonzalez, Pine Bluffs-Burns, 19:01.18; 3. Morrell, Central, 19:28.12; 4. Smith, Rawlins, 19:34.49; 5. Cordell-Reiner, Central, 19:42.88; 6. Schabron, Laramie, 19:55.28; 7. Hofmeister, Central, 20:04.41; 8. Y. Ronnau, East, 20:07.50; 9. Clark, Central, 20:11.38; 10. Trujillo, East, 20:21.38.
Other Central results: 12. Taper 20:45.62; 19. Perriton 21:32.75; 27. Broomfield 22:24.41; 36. Birge 24:34.22.
Other East results: 15. Smith 20:59.46; 16. Madsen 21:09.68; 20. Upton 21:46.66; 23. Craig 21:55.72; 24. A. Ronnau 22:00.47.
Cheyenne South results: 37. Hedum 24:36.56; 44. Wedemeyer 29:12.12.
Other Pine Bluffs-Burns results: 11. J. Griess 20:33.52; 34. Theobald 23:25.97; 39. McCollum 25:08.38; 40. Wallowing Bull 25:10.09; 41. A. Griess 25:18.14.
1. Cheyenne Central 21; 2. Laramie 67; 3. Cheyenne East 79; 4. Torrington 121; 5. Saratoga 126; 6. Cheyenne South 166; 7. Pine Bluffs-Burns 186; 8. Rawlins 192.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Jac. Frentheway, Central, 16:10.18; 2. Jas. Frentheway, Central, 16:30.05; 3. Brokaw, Central, 16:37.92; 4. Grant Bartlett, Saratoga, 16:43.96; 5. Barrington, Central, 16:58.59; 6. Christensen, East, 17:04.85; 7. Grady Bartlett, Saratoga, 17:20.46; 8. Smith, Laramie, 17:23.34; 9. Moore, Laramie, 17:28.24; 10. Schmidt, Central, 17:33.93.
Other Central results: 12. Rohde 17:38.78; 14. Reed 17:48.18.
Other East results: 13. Wise 17:43.84; 16. Parks 17:59.50; 21. Blakely 18:20.55; 23. Colbert 18:23.31; 24. Mansur 18:24.08; 26. Olson 18:35.72; 28. Turner 18:40.33; 29. Gustafson 18:55.12.
Cheyenne South results: 27. J. Bechtel 18:38.90; 31. Valentine 19:09.24; 32. Sumare 19:13.24; 33. Freeman 19:20.52; 53. Pasecki 22:00.24; 55. Hurlbert 23:23.17.
Pine Bluffs-Burns results: 36. Ashworth 19:48.31; 37. Norris 19:49.68; 41. L. Stockton 20:15.40; 42. James 20:18.02; 45. Anderson 20:54.37; 47. Paisecki 21:26.72; 51. Wilson 21:52.37.