The McMurray Middle School cross country team ended its season on a high note with the boys’ team handily winning the league championships and the girls finishing in a strong second at Titlow Park, in Tacoma, on Oct. 18.
Four of the Mustang boys came home from the league meet with medals, with Harrison Decker, Josh Healey and Cash Nowicki taking the top three spots, and Leif McBennett placing sixth.
Seventh graders Katherine Thompson and Bridget Simmons both medaled for the girls’ team, placing fourth and eighth, with Zephyr Schildbach the next runner across the line for the Mustang girls. In the Middle Nisqually League, the top three runners record points for the team score.
The Mustang boys went undefeated in the league this year, with over nine other teams competing, and also placed first in the John Payne/Curtis Invitational, with Mustang Josh Healey taking the first place at that meet.
Six girls competed for McMurray this season and none of them are eighth graders, so next year looks promising again for the girls’ team. Two of the top boy runners, Josh Healey and Cash Nowicki, are eighth-graders and will be missed by their teammates. Sixteen other sixth- and seventh-grade boys competed this season and the boys’ team looks to be quite strong again next year.
The Mustang Cross Country team was led by Head Coach Kevin Ross and Assistant Coaches Scott Healey and Joe Yarkin, who helped 23 athletes achieve personal best times during competition this season.
While choosing not to compete, many other additional Mustang team members came out on a regular basis to run with their friends and have fun getting exercise around the school district’s fields, track and trails. This year was one of the first seasons in memory that did not feature any rain at practice or at any of the cross-country meets.