GABRIEL FALTING RUNS FOR THE FINISH LINE AT THE '22 BORDER DASH
Johnson, who trained with the Parkway team during the summer of 2022, was able to hold off his friend. Johnson's time was 15:48. Falting finished with a 16:01.
Later in the season--on the same South Bossier Park course--Johnson and Falting would battle again at the District 1-5A Championships with faster times, but the same finish.
As the son of Parkway head coach Kent Falting, Gabriel Falting has grown up running around at The Border Dash his entire life. Falting will get one more shot at the meet's individual title. But it won't be Johnson who Falting has to worry about.
If Loyola's Tripp Roemer has anything to do with it, it's not going to come easy for Falting, who is well aware after battling Roemer to the finish line at Sportspectrum's Firecracker 5K earlier this summer.
As a junior, Roemer demonstrated during the track and field season that if you are going to beat him in a race...be ready to earn it. Just ask former Ruston Bearcat Bryar Madden, who is now running for Louisiana Tech, and Calvary junior Jackson Burney.
Madden had to dive across the line to beat Roemer in the 800m at the Hoss Garrett Relays last March. Burney had to give everything he had in the LHSAA Class 2A State Championships 1600m to defeat Roemer at LSU's Bernie Moore Stadium and win a state championship.
If his main competition doesn't come from Roemer, it may come from teammate Brennan Robin, who threw down a 16:30 under the Memphis lights. Robin's 5K time ranks No. 7 in Louisiana and is by far the best effort turned in by a Louisiana freshman during week No. 1 of the cross country season.
While the individual title may be in question, there is less drama in the team competition where Parkway placed seven runners in the meet's top 15 and all seven return. Runners include Andrew Kent (No. 3, 16:12), Ben Ruliffson (No. 6, 16:43), Gary Smith (No. 8, 16:53), Noah Fox (No. 10, 16:57), Charles Ernest (No. 12, 17:07), and Jesus Cordova (No. 15, 17:12).
Parkway had a strong showing last Saturday night in their 2023 opener in Tennessee at the City Auto Memphis Twilight Cross Country Classic. The Panthers top five runners were Falting (No. 17, 16:37), Alex Gomez (No. 39, 17:06), Smith (No. 43, 17:09), Kent (No. 73, 17:43), and Cordova (No. 75, 17:44).
Monroe had a breakout cross country season last year which ended with a seventh place finish (18:35) at the LHSAA Divison I State Cross Country Championships.
Favorites in the Girls' team competition is C.E. Byrd. The Lady Yellow Jackets have six runners seeded among the Top 15 entries, led by senior Hudson Roberts. Other Byrd runners in The Border Dash's top 15 entries include Laila Wells, Anna Spencer Frierson, Mallory Swint, Elizabeth Payne.