On September 27, Gilmour Academy held one of the oldest cross country meets in the state of Ohio – the 59th Annual Paul Primeau Invitational. This cross country event originally called The Gilmour Cross Country Run and was later renamed in order to honor longtime cross country coach and beloved teacher, Paul Primeau.
The Paul Primeau Invitational has five races and a total of about 1000 participants from high schools in Ohio, including a team from Erie, Pennsylvania, about two hours away. The participants are divided into two divisions based on the school sizes. Smaller schools, such as Gilmour, are in the blue division; and schools with more students are in the gray division.
Schools that attended the Primeau Invitational had seven runners to compete in each race. All runners started by the Murphy Resident Hall and finished on the track in the football stadium. The route is five kilometers long that loops around the Gilmour campus.
2018 Primeau Invitational
This year, the boys’ races started at 4 p.m. and the girls’ races started at 6 p.m. However, most of the teams arrived the campus around 2 in the afternoon and started warming up and getting familiar with the rules and route. Most of the visiting schools each had a plastic pyramid cabana by the starting place for runners to rest.
For Gilmour Academy, Kate Engle (‘19), Caitrina Barton (‘21), Alannah Barton (‘19), Mary Lombardo (‘22), Jorja Hlifka (‘20), Madeline Martino (‘22), and Mia Polisena (‘22) competed in the girls’ blue division race. For the boys’ blue division race, Gilmour’s runners were Tyler Clark (‘19), Timothy Diemer (‘19), Connor Gerspacher (‘19), Cole Durdella (‘20), Bryson Simpson (‘20), Garret Tomasek (‘20), and Nik Socrates (‘21).
Both Gilmour’s teams competed for top positions in the races. The girls finished first with 60 points and the boys finished third with 96 points. Individually, Engle finished second with a total time of 19 minutes, 33 seconds. For the boys’ race, Clark also finished second with a total time of 17 minutes, 7 seconds.
In terms of scoring, each runner’s performance figures into the final points of the team. The scoring rule is to add up each participant’s finishing place, and the school with the lowest sum of finishing places wins.
Gilmour’s Cross Country Team
A good cross country runner not only has physical strengths but also mental strengths. Engle said, “During my races, I typically try to be motivational and think about positive things as well as what my goals are. For instance, when my legs get really heavy, I try to tell myself that I feel strong and light and remind myself of my race goal and strategy. I also think about my teammates and when Mr. Lindley yells, ‘The team is looking strong behind you!’”
Mr. Lindley, the varsity Cross Country head coach for boys and girls, said, “Cross country is a team sport. The quality of the team comes before individual performances. Our one indispensable strategy is to collaborate with each other. Runners would perform the best when they are running together in a pack, because they are able to push each other to run forward.”
This was the last Primeau Invitational for many seniors on the Cross Country team. Engle said, “I will miss all of the love and positivity that I feel at the meet every year. It is one of the best meets because all of your friends, family, classmates, and teachers are all there cheering you on.”
Press Release Date: 10/19/18