A race with a view. Over 300 runners from around Wyoming stretched their legs in Douglas for the annual River Run — a course beginning at Douglas Middle School’s football field, giving the runners a view of the Platte River, and ending right where it started to a chorus of cheering friends and family.
While 344 runners took place in the run, the hosting Bearcats brought out 17 high school runners and 51 from the middle school. It was the only time this season that the Bearcats will host a run, making it the prime chance for family and friends to support the distance runners. One runner with her own cheering section was RayAnne Deluna.
“When you hear your name, all the support, it really helps a lot,” said Deluna.
She added that her parents, grandparents, sibling and best friend were huddled together right at the finish line and knowing that they were all waiting to cheer her on stopped Deluna from slowing down or taking a break.
She went on to be the highest finisher among the Douglas High School girls, ending the race in sixth place out of 49 runners. Her finishing time of 22:18.61 was ten seconds faster than the next closest finisher and over a minute quicker than the next fastest Bearcat.
“I definitely took out too fast, so i was really feeling it on the two-mile, but toward the end I got motivated so I kicked it back into gear,” she said.
According to head coach Rachel Carlson, every member of the Bearcats girls team set a personal record The next finishing Bearcat was Jenny Porter. Porter came in 13th place having crossed the finish line at 23:34.37.
Lucie Holt, the 21st place finisher, ended with a time of 24:08.58, just barely ahead of the runner from Thermopolis. Finishing one after the other at the 23rd and 24th spots were Brynn Zwetzig and Mayce Himle with times of 24:20.89 and 24:25.11.
Zwetzig’s time bested her finishing time from last week’s Casper Mountain meet by two full minutes, according to Carlson. Brianna Hansel was the final finisher for the girls team, coming in at 27:48:79, almost 2:30 faster than her previous PR, for 35th place.
The season may be just kicking off, but Carlson knows where she wants her girls to be by the end of the season. She feels that the team has the potential to finish in the top four teams at State. The boys team, which fielded several more runners, is a younger team, one that still has room to grow according to their coach.
The next Bearcat to finish the 5k course was Andrew Gifford. Gifford ran the course in 20:58.54, the 24th best time in just his second race and 30 seconds faster than his previous personal record.
“He ran so well in Casper Mountain I thought it would be hard for him to top it,” Carlson said. “He brings the heat every meet.”
Bryndon Wagner came in 28th place, only fractions of a second behind his Glenrock counterpart. Wagner ended in 21:15.91. Chance Himle finished four spots behind Wagner, but only 10 second behind him. They were two of 13 runners to cross the line in the 21st minute.
Four more Bearcats had finishing positions in the 40s. Carson Selk finished in 40th place in 22:18.48. Kyle Igo ended the race in 42nd place in 22:29.41. Luis Lepe ended in 46th place in 23:00.75, less than a second behind the closest finisher.
Lepe was one of six boys to set a new personal record, breaking his best time by 1:48. William Byerly capped off his run in 49th place with a time of 23:08.78. William Moore crossed the finish line in 24:08.74, Kal Thompson in 25:06.14, Chai Miller in 26.06.03 and the final finisher for the Bearcats was Grant Igo in 27:13.82.
Before the high schoolers took to the course, the Douglas Middle School brought their runners to open the day with a 3k version of the race. There were 21 girls from DMS and 29 boys that took place in the races. The best finisher for the DMS girls was Alexis Sines, she finished the race in 13:02.66 and earned sixth place.
Jaden Meyer’s 13:08.27 was good for eighth place and Sara Saint’s 13:14.28 rounded out the top 10. Macey Engle for Douglas took 11th place as well in 13:19.48. Only two boys for Douglas ended in the top 10, second place finisher Luke Ewing in 10:35.93 and Brodie Zwetzig, the fifth place runner who finished his run in 11:23.74.
The next meet for the Douglas High School team will be In Big Horn for the Big Horn Invite.