ROACHDALE -- The North Putnam boys' and girls' cross country teams ran against Cloverdale Tuesday.
For the girls, Paxton Stephenson led the way with a third place finish with a time of 22:17, with Whitney High placing fifth with a time of 24:22. Hillary Salyers was eighth overall with her time of 25:39, with Dakota Parent finishing 10th in 27:12 and Mandy Preecs finishing 12th in a time of 37:34.
"I'm very proud of the girls," NPHS head coach Kevin Lutes said. "Paxton didn't finish as high as she wanted, but it's difficult for her to get as much training as she needs while she's duel-sporting with volleyball. I thought she did a great job."
Lutes also commended High for doing the little things it takes to be successful. He noted she battled at the end of her race, and although she was outstretched at the end, he said he'd never seen her run with such ferocity or scrappiness.
The coach also noted the work ethic of Parent, as she's moved from a runner who wanted to just have to fun, to a runner that wants to get better. Preecs also delivered a nice performance for the coach, who commented that she puts forth a ton of effort and is always positive to the other athletes.
Dalton Spears paced the boys with a fourth place finish in 20:03. Joe Mindiola finished seventh with a time of 20:42, with Jeremy Ban placing ninth in 21:46. Jared Preecs was 10th overall with a time of 21:47, with Michael Herrmann finishing 17th in a time of 25:59.
"The boys race was equally as exciting for me to be a part of," Lutes said "Though our boys finished last, I saw fight in them for the first time.
"I noticed this a few times in workouts on an individual or two, but on Tuesday it was clear that they were sacrificing any and all energy they had, to the benefit of the team," Lutes commented.
Lutes said freshman Spears tried his hardest to stay with the top three runners, but didn't have enough steam. He also acknowledged that Mindiola is a fighter and that Ban and Preecs encourage each other and work hard together.
He also singled out Herrmann and said he was proud of how his runner showed a lot of courage and determination while fighting through the pain of racing.