A hot and humid morning for the Olney Invitational saw 21 schools and 346 runners take part in the 2.96 mile course. As a team, the Olney Tigers placed in third out of 21 teams. The Lady Tigers placed a solid second place out of the 14 schools that participated in the girls portion of the race. The boys race was won by Centralia with 65 points.  Benton was second with 75. Olney rounded out the podium with 96 points. “The boys team ran without our two senior captains on Saturday,” coach Louis Gassmann said.  “Owen Powell is sidelined with a stress fracture and Caleb Thomas is still recovering from a non-corss country injury.” Thomas is expected back soon, while Powell is expected to miss significant time. Despite losing the services of Owen Powell and Caleb Thomas, a pair of top four runners for Tigers, Olney still managed the third place team finish. “Gavin Kirby and Braden Nicholson continue to provide us with a strong one-two punch,” Gassmann said.  “Barak (Berger) stepped up and ran a superb race matching his time from up at Peoria the prior week.” The three Tigers who placed 3rd (Kirby), 4th (Nicholson), and 13th (Berger) helped pace the home team. Freshman Brooks Julian and sophomore second year runner Keaton Hancock scored well to finish the scoring runners for Olney. “A lot of responsibility are on our underclassmen right now,” Gassmann said.  “Luckily we have a group that can step up and accept the challenge.” Olney placed a very strong third place behind this good group of runners, despite missing a pair of steady and solid team members. “Needless to say, we just aren’t as strong and deep without Owen and Caleb,” said Gassmann of trying to overcome the injuries.  “But we still have a strong group of boys that can compete against good teams with our two captaisn on the sidelines.” The girls portion of the event featured the Lady Tigers as runner ups to the event champion Teutopolis. The Lady Shoes finished with 91 points while the Lady Tigers put up 103. Mattoon’s 106 rounded out the top three. “Prior to teh race we talk about individual as well as team goals,” Lady Tiger coach Denyse Eagleson said. Cameron Hough, the Lady Tigers number one runner, was ready for the challenge.   “Cameron Hough had a definite plan and strategy knowing she would be up against (Amelia) McClain from Benton,” said Eagleson.  “Cam stayed with her throughout the first mile and a half and then Amelia responded with several surges in the last half of the race.” Hough ran well while chasing the race winning McLain to follow for a solid second place finish to lead the Lady Tigers. Hope Laughlin was the second highest finishing Lady Tiger with a solid 19th place with Danni Murphy following closely in 20th. “Hope Laughlin not only ran well, but ended up running 2.5 without a shoe!” Eagleson said.  “With the tight pack of runners in the first half mile, her shoe was accidentally stepped on by another runner and came off! This did not deter her effort or strong finish. (Laughlin) and teammate Danni Murphy continue to push each other and challenge each other in training and racing.” Murphy clocked in a personal record by 11 seconds. Tristen Payne (29th) and Anna Blank ( 50th) were the final scoring Lady Tiger runners. “As we continue into the season, the entire team looks ahead to the final races and preperation to meet our team and individual goals,” said Lady Tiger head coach Denyse Eagleson. TEAM SCORES - BOYS 1st - Centralia - 65 2nd - Benton - 75 3rd - Olney - 96 4th - Robinson - 131 5th - Mt. Vernon - 157 6th - Lawrenceville - 203 7th - Breese Mater Dei - 208 8th - Teutopolis - 232 9th - Hamilton County - 233 10th - Herrin - 236 11th - Princeton - 307 12th - Effingham - 359 13th - Mattoon - 366 14th - Newton - 426 15th - Fairfield - 429 16th - Hutsonville - 472 17th - Louisville - 476 18th - Dieterich - 477 19th - Mt. Carmel - 500 20th - Salem - 511 21st - Altamont - 542 TEAM SCORES - GIRLS 1st - Teutopolis - 91 2nd - Olney - 103 3rd - Mattoon - 106 4th - Breese Mater Dei - 119 5th - Lawrenceville - 125 6th - Newton - 128 7th - Benton - 137 8th - Effingham - 209 9th - Carmi - 235 10th - Hamilton County - 239 11th - Salem - 301 12th - Dieterich - 310 13th - Robinson - 312 14th - Fairfield - 324 OLNEY BOYS INDIVIDUAL RESULTS 3rd - Gavin Kirby - 16:17.14 4th - Braden Nicholson - 16:18.92 13th - Barak Berger - 17:11.60 30th - Brooks Julian - 17:59.71 55th - Keaton Hancock - 18:44.02 65th - Jordan Belcher - 19:00.24 69th - Chase Travis - 19:06.60 74th - Drew Blank - 19:13.54 91st - Collin Gilreath - 19:47.37 94th - Colin Kocher - 19:52.02 154th - Trevor Bower - 22:03.17 155th - Rylin Kilpatrick - 22:09.52 183rd - Ian Strong - 25:04.67 OLNEY GIRLS INDIVIDUAL RESULTS 2nd - Cameron Hough - 19:20.28 19th - Hope Laughlin - 21:18.71 20th - Danni Murphy - 21:23.05 29th - Tristen Payne - 22:07.75 50th - Anna Blank - 23:32.40 62nd - Gracie Julian - 24:02.56 90th - Meah Stevens - 26:09.68 93rd - Hallie Troester - 26:20.09 110th - Kaylee Rubsam - 27:54.23 119th - Tara Hughes - 29:18.57 120th - Lydia Allen - 29:18.88 142nd - Payton Bailey - 33:51.86 UP NEXT The Olney Tigers and Lady Tigers will travel to Robinson for their next meet. The girls meet is scheduled for a 5:00 pm start time with the boys to follow.