It was a good night for running on Friday at the seventh annual Poyntz Avenue Mile.
And despite a headwind that hampered the times, both races were competitive and the citizen’s race offered a little bit of everything for the spectators on both sides of the street.
Randy Wasinger won the men’s elite race with a time of 4:20.2, just ahead of Manhattan High alum Chris Melgares at 4:22.1. Tim Testa was third at a time of 4:33.7, while Manhattan High runners Michael Melgares and Isaiah Koppes finished fourth and fifth.
Sydney Messick took the win in the women’s elite race at a time of 5:06.7, while Julie Thornton was second at a time of 5:36.8.
“It was good, definitely a competitive race like we’d expected,” race director Susan Melgares said. “I feel like this is coming around to become what we want with people coming from Kansas City and a lot of our fast people from the area. It’s growing in quality and we hope to continue that.”
Dale Larson took the win in the men’s division of the citizen’s race at a time of 5:20.9, while Chris Davis was second at 5:21.2. Zachary Middleton was third and Rod Middleton was fourth. Jesse Magana was fifth.
The women’s division of the citizen’s race was won by Casja Larson at 6:22.7. Maggie Morgan took second place at 6:52.0 and Jenna Boswell was third at 7:02.4. Jenna McKinney finished fourth and Sydney Harrison was fifth.
The citizen’s race featured a little bit of everything, from 83-year-old Marvin Hachmeister finishing 22nd in the men’s race, to 7-year-old Amelia Anderson taking 14th in the women’s race. The race concluded with 36-year-old Jeff Connell and 5-year-old Ava Connell finishing the race hand in hand.
“I just love the spirit of it that everybody can feel like a winner,” Melgares said. “You don’t have to be at the front to feel like a winner. You set a goal and try to achieve it and hopefully afterwards you can feel good about yourself.”
The event helps the MHS cross country team build up its budget for the upcoming season and aids post race meals and a yearly overnight trip to Joplin, Mo., for a race.
Melgares was thankful for the support they receive with the race.
“These kids, as I told the runners at the beginning of the race, they work so hard and they are elite athletes,” she said. “Cross country, you don’t always get the glory, although this year we got our fair share of glory, we want to treat them like the elite athletes they are by feeding them after races and taking them nice places after some of the meets and going on an overnight trip.
“And they have to earn that. They have to run some mileage over the summer to earn their ticket, but then we don’t charge them money, we charge them sweat and determination.”