Spartan girls defend home turf: C-M wins Spartan Earlybird Invite

Joe Randleman
Tri-County Times
Morgan Day (front), Alexis Houge (middle), Erica Houge (rear left), Karly Ruiz-Genovese (rear middle) and Avery Fricke (right) get out to a strong start for Collins-Maxwell in the 5-kilometer girls' race at the Spartan Earlybird Invitational cross country meet Aug. 31 at the Center Grove Orchard near Maxwell. The Spartans were the girls' team champions at the meet.

MAXWELL - The 2020 Spartan Earlybird Invitational was a big success for the Collins-Maxwell girls’ cross country program Aug. 31.

The Spartan girls brought home a team title at the Center Grove Orchard near Maxwell.

“We did some really great things tonight at our first meet of the season,” Collins-Maxwell head coach Jerry Meinerts said. “The girls team looks pretty solid, but we still have a lot of work to do to get into better shape. I'm very pleased with our times at this course tonight though.”

Collins-Maxwell scored 26 points to beat BGM by 16 points for first place out of five scored teams. 

“Our goal was to win the meet the second year in a row,” Collins-Maxwell junior Alexis Houge said. “This is one of our more special meets. Not a lot of people get to have a home meet and to have one in our own backyard is pretty great.”

Houge placed second individually with a 5-kilometer time of 23 minutes, 32.1 seconds. Baxter’s Elie Tuhn won in 22:03.5.

Houge spent most of the meet in third place. A BGM runner got off course around the two-mile mark, giving Houge an opening to take second.

“She was ahead of us the entire meet and I got to the second mile and I could still see her, so I’m like I’m going to try and close that gap,” Houge said. “I come out of that back orchard and she’s just gone. I thought I still came in third then found out, nope.”

Morgan Day took third overall for the Spartans. Day clocked in at 23:50.2.

Morgan Day (left) placed third individually to help Collins-Maxwell win the girls' team championship at the Spartan Earlybird Invite Aug. 31 at the Center Grove Orchard.

“I usually start fast, but senior year I’ve pretty much figured out my pacing,” Day said. “I was able to pace myself really well. It felt really good - about where I thought I should be at in my head.”

Avery Fricke, the top runner for Collins-Maxwell at qualifying meets each of the past two seasons, and freshman Erica Houge also placed in the top 10 individually. They were neck-and-neck the whole race, with Fricke placing seventh in 24:46.1 and Houge eighth in 24:46.4.

Freshman Meyaurah Pratt ran a 12th-place time of 25:56.7 as the final Spartan runner to earn points.

“We’ve got a fairly young team,” Day said. “I’m excited to see the progress they’ve made. It’s already been great to see them in practice. We’re really fortunate to have the girls we do - it’s a testament to their abilities to go from softball to cross country. We’ve been really blessed with all the girls we have.”

Junior Karly Ruiz-Genovese and freshman Ashlyn Davis were the other runners to turn in a varsity time for Collins-Maxwell at the meet. Ruiz-Genovese placed 14th in 26:15.7 and Davis 16th in 26:38.9.


Final team scores: 1. Collins-Maxwell 26 points, 2. BGM 42, 3. Grandview Christian 74, 4. Colo-NESCO 99, 5. Colfax-Mingo 124.


Individual results (5-kilometer) 

Collins-Maxwell: 2. Alexis Houge, 23:32.1, 3. Morgan Day, 23:50.2, 7. Avery Fricke, 24:46.1, 8. Erica Houge 24:46.4. 12. Meyaurah Pratt 25:56.7; 14. Karly Ruiz-Genovese 26:15.7; 16. Ashlyn Davis 26:38.9.