Harriers post PRs in Boise

Courtesy photo

BOISE – Pinedale High School juniors Madison Antonino and Cora Koci both achieved new personal records in the 5-kilometer race at the Bob Firman Invitational XC Meet in Boise, Idaho, on Sept. 23.

Antonino and Koci both compete with the Jackson Hole High School (JHHS) cross-country team.

More than 6,000 people gathered at Eagle Island State Park for one of the largest cross-country meets in the region, a scene JHHS Head Coach Jeff Brazil described as “amazing.”

“At the height of the races, the main parts of the course are lined shoulder to shoulder and two people deep,” Brazil added. “There are team tents everywhere, food stands, shoe store tents and event swag tents. It is a really cool scene.”

Antonino competed in the elite girls’ division, racing against the top female cross-country athletes from Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Utah. Her strategy was to go out strong and stick with the lead pack, keeping a lookout for breakaways, said Coach Brazil.

“The start was pretty much a dead sprint for 200 meters before runners settled in,” Brazil explained. “Maddie pressed out with the top group of 10 to 20 girls.”

Antonino completed the first mile with an astonishing split time of 5 minutes, 32 seconds, only 4 seconds away from the leaders.

Antonino found a “safe spot” in the chase pack for the second mile and then kicked it in for the final leg of the race.

“Maddie passed me with 1,000 meters to go and made a good aggressive move to the front of her pack,” said Brazil. “She battled that last second of the race really well as it got more active and girls tried to make their own moves.”

Antonino crossed the finish line in seventh place, coming in ahead of 122 of the best runners in the region. The Pinedale junior posted a new personal record of 18:12.50, shaving more than 1 minute from her previous PR.

“Maddie’s race was a huge step forward,” Brazil noted. “She is such a solid character. Her progression has just continued in a predictable fashion that should continue through the season.”

Koci represented PHS in the girls’ junior varsity division and broke into the top 10 early in the race with JHHS teammate Aubrey Maestas.

“Like the other races, they nailed the start and first mile very aggressively,” said Brazil. “Aubrey and Cora are my favorite duo on the team right now. They support each other and push each other. They race each other to the finish – not holding hands or looking for a tie, but knowing that they do best for each other if they try to beat their teammate.”

Koci snagged eighth place with a new personal record of 23:02.50 – 0.3 seconds ahead of Meastas and 1:20 faster than her previous PR.

Koci’s achievement solidified her spot as a varsity runner for JHHS in coming weeks.

“Cora and her teammate will be key now in what we do at State as a team,” said Brazil. “Her hard work over the summer is paying off.”