The Blackford Jr High Cross Country teams ran Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Oak Hill.  

    The boys team finished sixth of 12 teams, but the spread between fourth to sixth place was only three points.  

    The weather was hotter than it has been lately and it seemed to slow the times down by 30 seconds to a minute for the more experienced runners, but as much as 2 and 3 minutes for the newer runners.      

    However, fifth grader, Reece Walker was the exception to the rule when he finished with his personal best time by fifteen seconds!

    The boys ran the first race of the evening and Darius Osborn met his personal goal for the season with another first place finish for the team in 12:24 for 11th place.  Keaton Walker was close behind in 13th.  Mason Kitterman, Gage Baker, and James Jernigan wrapped up the team score for the boys in 41st, 45th, and 47th.

    The girls team finished seventh out of ten teams in the 90 degree temperatures.  Cierra Faber and Ammee Uggen finished as the top two for Blackford with times about 20 seconds slower than the last race.  Cierra finished in 14:24 for 17th place and Ammee was 27th which earned ribbons for both.  Allie Clamme, Kayleigh Faber, and Abigail Slentz topped off the girls score in 34th, 51st, and 79th.

    Coach Amanda Slentz said, “We are proud of the kids today.  There was alot of walking throughout the junior high race with the heat, but our kids toughed it out and everyone finished strong.  I really want to give a shout out to Ammee Uggen, Kayleigh and Cierra Faber.  They jumped in and worked the water table for the high school races.  No one asked them to.  They saw a need and stepped up to fill it.”

    “Running is not just who is the most physically fit. You have to be mentally fit for the race too.  The heat, the competition, the course, a bad day, too little sleep.

    “Running takes mental strength to go out there everyday and push yourself to improve, rain or shine, cold or hot. It takes grit and discipline. Sure there isn’t lots of complicated skills to perfect that take hours and hours and years of practice, but it is more than just strapping on some tennis shoes and hitting the trail.

    “You can mentally lose a race before the gun has even gone off.  As coaches, we talk to the kids about qualities that will help them improve their running but it is more than that too.  They are qualities that are going to help mold them into awe inspiring adults. They will help them in life not just athletics.

    Qualities like discipline, grit, reliability, integrity, responsibility, etc etc. The list goes on. As coaches, we do more than say go run for 20 minutes. You will find that the coaches at Blackford, whichever sport you want to look at, are talking about, teaching, and modeling life long skills that go far beyond the course, track, field, court...

    Athletics are more than just entertainment. They are the extended classroom of life skills.

Results:

Boys

11th, Darius Osborn (8) 12:24

13th, Keaton Walker (8) 12:27

41st, Mason Kitterman (6) 13:57

45th, Gage Baker (7) 14:09

47th, James Jernigan (8) 14:13

79th, Tanner Roberts (6) 15:51

94th, Jacob Barry (5) 17:06

97th, Charleston Slentz (8) 17:32

100th, Reece Walker (5) 17:46 PR

120th, Sam Barry (6) 19:21

143 boy finishers

6th out of 12 teams

Girls

17th, Cierra Faber (7) 14:24

27th, Ammee Uggen (8) 14:51

34th, Allie Clamme (8) 15:16

51st, Kayleigh Faber (5) 16:03

79th, Abigail Slentz (6) 17:53

81st, Karlie Pitts (6) 17:55

88th, Isabelle Reid (8) 18:47

90th, Kalli Mealy (6) 18:53

110th, Loralie Hile (6) 21:33

121 girl finishers

7th out of 10 teams