• Diane Gomez

Cross Country runners create buzz at Yellow Jacket Invitational

Boy's Cross Country team poses for a picture with Coach "P" (second from right) at the Yellow Jacket Invitational.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, the Boy’s Cross Country team competed in the annual Yellow Jacket Invitational at Thomas County Middle School in Thomasville. Coach Alex Papanicolopoulos (Coach "P") called the meet “a huge success,” with two runners placing in the top five.

Senior Cross Country runner Elias Lopez-Gomez, who recently placed 2nd at the Yellow Jacket Invitational.

Senior Syrupmaker Elias Lopez-Gomez placed 2nd in the competition. Last year, Elias finished in 6th place at the same invitational and got a medal for being in the top 10. He said the course was the same but the rain this time around made it harder to run.

“Out of all the races I ran, it was the 2nd hardest,” he said.

According to Elias, he was "determined to show what Cairo was all about and that Cairo is strong.”

Senior Cross Country runner Eliceo Lopez-Gomez, who recently placed 5th at the Yellow Jacket Invitational.

Eliceo Lopez-Gomez also finished strong, in 5th place. Having participated in the event last year, he said he had a “good knowledge of knowing when [he] should accelerate or maintain [his] speed and made more improvements from last year," going from 19:18 to 18:47.

Eliceo said he “felt really good representing Cairo.”

Upcoming meets for the Syrupmaker Cross Country team include the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 in Albany, and the annual Bearcat Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020 in Bainbridge.

The Red & Black also spoke to Coach "P" about the ways that the team has been affected by the ongoing pandemic. The team recently raised over $500 dollars for new uniforms and players dues. The group also started training during the summer before the start of school.

Members of the team are asked to wear masks if they are not warming up or competing, but as Coach "P" says, Cross Country is “probably the safest sport to do right now during this pandemic.”

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