Varsity and Junior Varsity cross country teams start season strong at Moeller Primetime Invitational


Senior Sarah Pearson, Junior Maggie Schroeder, Seniors Alissa Campbell, Nikki McKiernan, and Kelsey Miller, Coach Brian Alessandro, Freshman Alyssa Harris, Sophomore Helen Halbauer, and Freshmen Eden Brumer and Ruby Smith smile after the race.

Last Friday, the Highlands High School cross country teams took on the Moeller Invitational, located at Christ Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since this particular meet was held late on a Friday night, both Girls and Boys Varsity ran under stadium lights to illuminate the otherwise pitch-black course. The turnout was huge with approximately 1,369 runners up against the Bluebirds spanning over the four different races. 

Despite the large turnout, the Birds were able to place well as a team. Girls Varsity placed 8th out of 18 schools with a score of 216 points. Junior Maggie Schroeder placed 13th out of 204 individually, leading the Girls Varsity team. 

Freshman Alyssa Harris also ran in the meet for the Varsity team for her first time as an “official” high schooler, as she used to run Varsity in middle school. Harris placed 37th out of 204 runners. “I feel like I was prepared for the meet Friday, but I also could have done better,” Harris explained.

Boys Varsity placed 14th out of 17 teams with a total of 364 points, being led by Junior Will Griffith who placed 45th out of 220 individually. 

Senior Connor Rust also competed for the Birds, running his first meet of his last cross country season.  He has mixed feelings about his senior year. “I feel like it’s bittersweet,” Rust explains, “I’m excited, but at the same time it’s one last chance. I’m counting down the meets and I’ve been running for a long time and it’s just sad.” 

Not only did varsity come out strong at the first meet of the season, but the Girls and Boys Junior Varsity (JV) teams managed to place well, too. The Girls team scored 398 points, placing them 15th out of 19 teams. The Boys scored 428 points and placed 12th out of 18. Although there is room for improvement, both JV teams proved that they’d be strong contenders at Kentucky meets, which generally are less competitive than the large meets found in Ohio. 

Head Coach Brian Alessandro is also eager for the season to progress and feels all teams have potential. 

“I am pleased with their efforts,” said Alessandro. “Our goal each season is to win a state title. Sometimes, you have to be realistic and understand that can’t happen. However, I believe this year, both teams are capable of it.”

If you hope to see more of the cross country teams this year, come support them as they compete at Grant County on August 31st