The conditions were mild, the terrain was flat and there was somebody to catch. Early in the race, Caden Byrer might have been tempted to ratchet up his intended pace.
Instead, the Lewiston senior bided his time, eventually took command and easily won the boys’ race, leading a 1-2-3 finish for the Bengals that keyed a team title Saturday in the Seaport Invitational cross country meet at Beachview Park in Clarkston.
The story was similar for Clara Anderson of Logos, who caught Athena Leonard of Lewiston during the first mile and claimed the girls’ crown. Kaija Dybdahl placed fifth to lead Troy to the girls’ team championship.
Byrer improved to 3-for-3 in invitational wins this season, followed this time by teammates Payton Bigler and Elijah Sabo in second and third. They kept him company in the early going.
“One of the Bantams started off pretty quick,” Byrer said of Mick Brown of Clarkston, who wound up 11th, “so I just kind of sat back with the rest of the team. The goal was to go 1-2-3, like we did — super awesome. He finally started to slow and I kept that pace all the way through.”
Staying strong on the Beachview course’s version of Heartbreak Hill in the final mile, Byrer covered the 5,000 meters in 16 minutes, 14.67 seconds, to improve upon his second-place showing of a year ago and win by 36-plus seconds.
A senior, Byrer said he intensified his offseason training this year with a view to following his older brother into college track and cross country. Austin Byrer, who won the Seaport three years ago, now is running for Weber State.
“He’s so competitive, it’s fun to watch him race,” Lewiston coach John Potter of the Caden Byrer, “especially in these opportunities to take over races the way he does — it’s very dramatic and very quick when it happens.”
Brown, a junior, paced the Clarkston boys to a fourth-place finish that pleased coach Linda Brossard.
Anderson, a Logos sophomore, let Leonard set the early pace in the girls’ race, also 5,000 meters, before taking the control and winning by 35 seconds in 21:06.24.
“I was really looking for a comfortable hard start and working my way into it,” she said. “Then push as hard as I could.”
Anderson, whose training is augmented by competing in club swimming, placed 13th in the Idaho 1A cross country meet in 2018. As a distance runner, she’s following in the footsteps of her father Tyler, who ran for the University of Washington, and her brother Josiah, a former Logos runner now competing for the University of Idaho.
Leonard, another sophomore, moved up 12 places from her Seaport effort last year.
“I didn’t mean to go out that fast, actually,” she said. “It was tough but it was good. I was tired but you can get that runner’s high halfway through.”
The girls’ team title was a triumph for Troy, which has long foregrounded track and cross country but, like any 1A school, can’t always field a full team in cross country.
Not far behind Dybdahl were teammate Halee Bohman in seventh, Kassidy Chamberlin in ninth and Kelli Richmond in 11th.
“I’m just really grateful that we’ve got enough to kids to get a team out,” Troy coach Tera Stoner said. “The kids that we have, boy, they are remarkable individuals. I love the potential.”
Team scores — Troy 58, Lewiston 63, Logos 66, Chiawana 68, Prairie 105, Sunnyside 115.
Top placers — 1, Clara Anderson, Log, 21:06.24. 2, Athena Leonard, Lew, 21:41.41. 3, Mia Wiberg, Chiawana, 21:43.18. 4, Clara Chaffee, Pra, 22:03.04. 5, Kaija Dybdahl, Troy, 22:07.75. 6, Kayte Casebolt, Log, 22:09.07. 7, Halee Bohman, Troy, 22:24.94. 8, Afton Harker, Chiawana, 22:45.99. 9, Kassidy Chamberlin, Troy, 23:03.06. 10, Kaylee Condie, Sunnyside, 23:05.99. 11, Kelli Richmond, Troy, 23:46.15. 12, Kailey Carpenter, Lew, 23:57.53. 13, Peyton Purvis, Chiawana, 24:11.29. 14, Josephine Wyrick, Log, 24:15.11. 15, Amelia Black, Lew, 24:16.32. 16, Cassidy Rehder, Lew, 24:20.82. 17, Kyleigh Duclos, Pra, 24:23.57. 18, Kendall Teichmer, Lew, 24:24.45. 19, Lilian Froese-Raihl, Sunnyside, 24:25.00. 20, Morgan Woodward, Chiawana, 24:36.90.
Team scores — Lewiston 21, Logos 49, Sunnyside 94, Clarkston 97, Clearwater Valley 115, Prairie 170.
Top placers — 1, Caden Byrer, Lew, 16:14.67. 2, Payton Bigler, Lew, 16:51.06. 3, Elijah Sabo, Lew, 17:00.75. 4, Carson Sellers, Tim, 17:01.74. 5, Reid Weaver, Sunnyside, 17:13.03. 6, Nate Plotner, Log, 17:13.47. 7, Dawson Key, Lew, 17:30.26. 8, Alex Blum, Log, 17:32.37. 9, Joe McGuigan, Nez, 17:33.29. 10, Davis Phillis, Troy, 17:34.19. 11, Mick Brown, Clk, 17:47.46. 12, Kobe Wessels, Lew, 18:00.13. 13, Solomon Howard, Log, 18:16.53. 14, Cole Seller, Nez, 18:18.46. 15, Nic Grim, Lew, 18:22.50. 16, Theo Sentz, Log, 18:24.99. 17, Preston Amerman, CV, 18:44.43. 18, Edward Villanueva, Sunnyside, 18:47.33. 19, Kalab Rickerd, Dea, 18:53.98. 20, Isaac Blum, Log, 18:58.27.
OTHER RACE WINNERS
Girls’ JV: Grace Tiegs, Nez, 24:39.16. Girls’ middle school: Jessika Lassen, Mos, 9:13.32 (3,000 meters). Boys’ JV: Jacob Martinez, Sunnyside, 19:07.87. Boys’ middle school: Kieran Long, Mos, 8:15.01 (3,000 meters).
Grummert may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2290.