Valiant underclassmen run well at invite

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic's Elizabeth Gibson (left) and Mary Eisenbacher (right) helped the Valiants compete hard and well at the Southwest Christian Invite on Oct. 1.

When the opportunity to shine as Valley Catholic's lead runners arose on Oct. 2, junior Elizabeth Gibson and sophomores Mary Eisenbacher and Isabella Amman starred.

With the Valiants' top varsity competitors either resting or competing in the Oxford Classic at Drake Park, Gibson, Eisenbacher and Amman helped Valley place fifth overall as a team at the Southwest Christian Invitational on Friday.

“This was a good chance for us to be at the forefront, push ourselves and work hard,” said Gibson. “I wanted to push myself. The past couple of races, I've faded out at the end so I was excited to push all the way through and finish strong.”

“It was nice to be at the top and get out there and do better this time,” added Eisenbacher. “We wanted to all get personal records and run fast. It made feel like I could do better and be up there.”

Union took first overall with 18 points, Southwest Christian was second with 74 points, St. Stephen's Academy was third with 82, Vernonia scored 94 points for fourth and Valley Catholic finished at XX. Gibson placed 16th overall with a finishing time of 24 minutes, 49 seconds. Eisenbacher took 17th and finished in 24:49, Amman took 31st at 27:29, followed by sophomore Kyra Stoiantschewsky (37th at 28:47) and Jessica Chung (47th at 33:13). Gibson and Eisenbacher both ran personal bests on the woodsy, hilly course that wrapped around Southwest Bible Church on Murray Boulevard. The two hopeful varsity runners ran alongside each other for most of the race until Gibson galloped ahead toward the tape.

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic sophomore Isabella Amman ran a personal best at the Southwest Christian Invite on Oct. 1 to finish within the top-35 overall.

“It's been a very pleasant season,” said Gibson. “We've gotten to go to a lot of big races. It's fun getting to be the stars a little. Usually, we go about the same pace so we try to work off each other and push each other running the courses like that.”

“(Gibson) pushes me when I'm tired,” said Eisenbacher with a smile. “She makes me do better, I feel like. I felt good this race. It was a great race.”

Amman also set a personal record, but explained she “could've done better” and liked the thought of improving while setting individual bests. The sophomore noted she tried to come out strong at the start because the course was narrow and tough to navigate tat he start. Then, Amman attempted to maintain a steady pace and close hard. Amman also explained she relishes being part of a Valley program that likes success and strong work ethics.

“It feels like I'm in better shape,” said Amman. “I love everybody on our team. I feel like we have a really good team dynamic. A lot of it is about winning, but it's also about pushing each other. In practice, everybody goes 100 percent all of the time. It's awesome having a team that feels the same way and supports you no matter what.”

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