HERDING THE PACK: All-State runners lead Glenrock to top three finish at State

The Glenrock boys cross country team begins the 2A Cross Country State Championship at the Douglas Golf Course and Community Club. Both the girls and boys team finished in the top three for team scores.

The Glenrock boys cross country team begins the 2A Cross Country State Championship at the Douglas Golf Course and Community Club. Both the girls and boys team finished in the top three for team scores. (Photo by Joshua Clark)

Joshua Clark, joshua@glenrockind.com

The Glenrock Herders cross country team was led to one of their best seasons behind a quartet of all-state runners.

The extreme conditions couldn’t stop a pair in both the boys and girls portion of the 2A Cross Country State Championship to carry their team to top three finishes at the Douglas Golf Course and Community Club.

John and James Halvorsen finished in the top-ten for the boys, while  Anna Grant and Rana McCluer were able to do the same for the girls.

Grant was the highest overall placer for the Herders, finishing the race in 24:41.59 and placing sixth overall.

Shortly after, McCluer sprinted to the finish line, seperating herself from two opposing runners to finish with a time of 25:24.89 and snag the last all-state spot at 10th.

“It felt great to make all-state,” McCluer said. “I worked really hard last year and wasn’t able to get it so I worked even harder this year

“I’m the youngest girl on the team so it’s amazing to feel like I can out run the older athletes on the team.”

McCluer and Grant are both sophomores and push each other in practice.

“It was a great season,” McCluer said. “I was able to place at every meet because my teammates were great. Anna Grant really pushed me in practice and both of us want to place in state next year.”

The Halvorsen brothers were the fastest Herders all year, and that didn’t change at the state meet, with both clocking in times of under 20 minutes.

John finished six seconds ahead of his brother at 19:39.94, but was unable to pass Wind River runner Colby Jenks.

Both Jenks and John sprinted their way to the finish line with both giving everything they have, with Jenks finishing less than a second ahead in the sixth spot.

James found himself in a similar situation, with the eight through 10th place runners separated by less than three seconds. 

James nabbed the last all-state spot with a time of 19:45.19.

“It was a great feeling for both of us,” James and John said through text. “We worked hard all summer to achieve it and it was satisfying for that to pay off.”

Although the all-state runners led the way, it took strong performances by the whole team to secure a top three team score.

Senior Abbi Cerny was joined by Sarah Winger in finishing top-25 for the last race, with Cerny finishing the demanding course in 27:16.21 and Winger in 27:25.04.

Gracie Keizer, Emma Cotton and Hilda Williams rounded out the race for the Lady Herders placing 31st, 36th and 46th, respectively.

Paxton and Cody Piasecki were the two fastest runners after the Halvorsens, finishing 24th and 27th.

Paxton finished in 21:46.18 and Cody in 22:12.99.

Hunter McCullough and Zane Keizer were the final Herders to cross the finish line, at 22:53.85 and 25:11.86, respectively.

“This was a terrific group of young adults that were a blast to coach,” head coach Chris Gray said. “They gave Glenrock something to be proud of with their tenacity and character. 

“They overcame injury and illness and saved their best performance for last. Coach Misti Allen and I are very proud of this group and again will miss our three senior girls.

The state meet was a unique one, with frigid temperatures dropping into the teens at the beginning of the meet in what will likely be the coldest conditions the runners compete in during their careers.

“All the runners in 2-A should be commended for the way they performed in the conditions that were presented to them,” Gray said.

“I didn’t hear one negative comment from a coach or runner-like I told our kids it is what it is and go run the way you have run all year and they did.”


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