Cougar runners take first

The Patrick County High School Cougars took to the cross country trails Thursday at the Bengal Clash at the River Invitational, hosted by Bassett High School at the Smith River Sports Complex. The nine-team race was the first 5k of the season for the Cougars.
“As a whole, this was the best we have ever opened up as a team since I have been coaching,” said Coach Danel Slaydon. “The boys raced with aggression and purpose that was clear from the opening strides,” he said. “They fought their way to victory, taking down 4A powerhouses William Byrd and Salem, and Bassett (who beat them at the two-mile opener two weeks ago),” Slaydon said.
The boys were led by Juan Cisneros (3rd) and Monroe Morse (5th). Zach Montgomery (11th), Jared Biedrycki (13th) and Bailey Holt (16th) ran strong races to score for the Cougars.
Monroe Morse had a phenomenal race, taking 31 seconds off his personal record (PR) and running a full two minutes faster than he did on this course last year. “He has been with us since seventh grade, and today was a major breakthrough for him—which is just so exciting,” Slaydon said. “He has put in a lot of work over the past four years, and this past spring and summer he has really committed to being great. Today was just the beginning of great things to come for Monroe.”
The girls competed with a small squad Thursday, with three key runners sitting out with minor injuries. Armonte Carter led the ladies with a 16th place finish and a big 30 second PR. “She worked really hard in the weight room this summer, and it is really starting to pay off,” Slaydon said.
She was followed closely by sophomore Montana Moorefield in 17th. Arielle Taylor (25th), Lindsey Marshall (37th) and Isabella Brim (44th) also scored for the ladies.
“Everyone made huge improvements from our first race, and we are really looking forward to seeing these tough girls continue to get stronger and faster over the course of the season,” Slaydon said.
Kristian Reynolds ran to a third place finish in the JV boys’ race. Tristan Moore (45th) and Preston Foley (67) also ran and finished with 5k PRs.
The Cougar runners will be back in action this Friday at the Friday Night Lights Invitational in Kernersville, N.C.

Juan Cisneros at Bassett event. (Photo by JD Morse)
Juan Cisneros at Bassett event. (Photo by JD Morse)
Monroe Morse at Bassett event. (Photo by JD Morse)
Monroe Morse at Bassett event. (Photo by JD Morse)
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