The Geneseo cross country runners defended their home turf Sept. 21 as the Leafs and Lady Leafs captured the Geneseo Invitational title.

The Geneseo cross country runners defended their home turf Sept. 21 as the Leafs and Lady Leafs captured the Geneseo Invitational title.

“Absolutely, I am surprised to take first,” said head coach Don Fredericks. “Was I expecting us to win? You always hope so, but there are some very talented teams there. For the team to end up winning the team championship without several runners was a very pleasant surprise. To win the girls and boys combined races made that all the more sweeter.”

Halle Olson paced the Geneseo contingent with the highest finish of all the GHS runners as she crossed the finish line in first place in the senior girls’ race with a time of 20 minutes and 37.90 seconds.

“Halle Olson was our one individual champion,” said Fredericks. “She has had a hard start to the season, but won by 58 seconds, which is a great finish for her. She ran just a great race.”

Jessa Coulter came in fifth in the senior girls’ race at 22:18; followed by Morgan Kelly in sixth at 22:28.29; Cortney Backes, 18th at 24:26.02; and Abby Larson, 19th, 24:27.02.

Chaise Blakley was the top runner in for the Leafs in the senior boys’ race with a fifth-place finish in 17:38. Mitchell Lamb and Tony Gatter also cracked the Top 10 — Lamb in eighth at 17:45.29 and Gatter, ninth at 18:14.50.

Karl Flynn finished in 24th place at 19:32.33; followed by Sean Geffert, 27th, 19:56.48; and Payton DeMay, 30th, 20:03.60.

Katie Puls led the junior girls with a third-place finish in 21:12.28; while Ashley Kempher placed 16th in 23:30.76 and Mikayla Bowton, 17th in 23:33.83.

David Chenoweth was the top finisher for the junior boys in fourth place with a time of 18:00.38; followed by Chris Bagley, 17th, 19:55.85; Josiah Cropp, 21st, 20:37.57; Sean Pemble, 23rd, 21:09.07; and Raul Falcon, 26th, 21:58.95.

The Lady Leafs had three runners place in the Top 10 of the sophomore girls’ race — Molly Lembke, second, 22:10.82; Madison Miller, fourth, 22:12.01; and Taylor Claus, sixth, 22:20.62. Callie Miller finished the race in 15th-place at 24:57.03.

Competing for the sophomore boys were: Charley Elden, seventh, 17:56.77; Gabe Johnson, 12th, 18:51.73; Keaton Darin, 22nd, 19:43.94; Keegan Banister, 32nd, 20:51.79; and Nathan Konvicka, 45th, 21:49.07.

Geneseo’s freshman girls grabbed three Top 5 finishes from Megan Coulter, third, 21:52.11; Sally DeBrock, fourth, 22:22.99; and Emma Alexander, fifth, 22:23.95. Alexis Perron took 23rd in 30:38.16.

Nathan Soria led the way in the freshman boys’ race with a second-place finish for the Leafs at 17:42.18.

Tate Neff took 20th in 20:04.72; followed by Luke Johnson, 25th, 20:50.92; Keith Elden, 28th, 21:11.01; Chandler Schwartz, 36th, 22:12.02; Matt Ganson, 40th, 23:01.00; Ross Chapman, 44th, 23:42.00; Sam Murray, 46th, 23:56.00; Bryan Dellett, 49th, 24:41.00; and Nelson Laingen, 52nd, 25:46.

“Three of last year’s Top 5 runners were not able to run, and yet the sophomore girls were able to win the sophomore girls’ race,” said Fredericks. “That just shows the depth in that class.

“We had some rookies step up in the senior boys’ race, and it was a real close battle.

“I am proud of every single kid on the team. It was a special day for Geneseo cross country.”

Geneseo will be in action today at the Rock Island Invite at 3:15 p.m.