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Cross Country: Thomas, Carlson make big strides on Libby squad

by Western News
| September 21, 2009 12:00 AM

For the past two seasons, Libby cross country runner Jacob Thomas has steadily moved up the ladder on his own squad. Still, he had never finished with the best time on the team – until this past weekend.

Thomas came in with a time of 20:22 to finish in 22nd place at Saturday’s Farragut Invitational. Staged on a hilly course near Bayview, Idaho, Libby had another highlight from Nikola Falk, who placed eighth in the small schools division with a time of 22:30.

“He’s been slowly moving his way up,” LHS coach Rod Tempel said about Thomas. “He got up to second at divisionals last year … and he got second last week.”

Will Lott had finished as the top Libby runner in all other varsity meets this season. Lott finished 22nd at Farragut with a time of 20:22 – just 2 seconds behind Thomas.

Ben Graziano (34th, 21:04), Jacob McCrohan (35th, 21:07), Zeke Carlson (38th, 21:14), Cody Elliott (55th, 22:15) and Matt Nelson (60th, 22:32) also competed for the Loggers.

Tempel was impressed with Carlson’s effort.

“Everybody was approximately a minute-and-a-half to two minutes slower on average except for Zeke,” Tempel said. “He ran just two seconds slower than last weekend. That’s remarkable because this course was way, way harder. Zeke’s just starting to come on … he looked really relaxed (on Saturday).”

Falk was the lone girl to run for Libby. The team’s other runner was out of action because of illness. Falk’s eighth-place finish came among a field of 90 girls.

Libby heads to the super-sized Mountain West cross country meet on Saturday in Missoula. Teams from all over the Northwest compete. Last year, Tempel said about 500 athletes competed in the varsity boys race. The race, staged at the University of Montana’s golf course, will start varsity boys at 11 a.m. and varsity girls at 11:40 a.m.