|Southeast Week #3
Week ending Sept. 24, 2005
By Ben Ackerly, NTN Southeast Region Editor
1. Jefferson S&T, Alexandria VA (#1) – OFF
Next: Octoberfest Invitational VA, Oct. 1
2. Oakton, Vienna VA (#2)
9/24 – Great American, Seeded Invitational, 5K, Cary NC
Hoping to avoid the inevitable traffic up front in the Nike Race of Champions, SE#2 Oakton got all it could handle in the seeded invitational, finishing 4th behind a trio of Northeast Region teams. Interestingly, 6 of Oakton’s 7 runners posted times nearly identical to those recorded at the Great Meadows Invitational two weeks earlier, suggesting the course at SAS Soccer Park may have been tougher than most had anticipated coming in (No. 4 Alex Nissen was the exception, running more than 20 seconds slower at Great American). Oakton’s top-5 average of 16:46 was bettered by 12 teams in the Race of Champions, six of them from the Southeast Region.
Oakton Coach Phil Tiller said the hardest decision heading into Great American was not whether to run in the ROC or the seeded invite – he was comfortable with that choice – but who from his deep program to put on the seeded team. As it turned out, Colin Braley and Joe LoRusso, at 17:11 and 17:16, respectively, both posted faster times for Oakton in the White race than did the 4 and 5 runners in the seeded race.
SE#10 Pinecrest, still going this season without projected #1 Chase Williams, stumbled to a 13th-place finish behind four unranked teams from the region – Tatnall DE, Winter Park FL, Fort Mill SC and Salesianum DE. Pinecrest’s top 3 of Andy Wacker, Jed Black and Jordan Rickard averaged 16:42 with a spread of 12 seconds. But, noted Assistant Coach Jason Bochert, “You can’t expect to do well when your fourth runner comes in a minute and 30 seconds after your third runner.”
“I personally was not satisfied with our performance,” Bochert added. “We are a strong team with potential and for some reason we lacked intensity Saturday. All we can do now is forget about the race Saturday and move on. The season is approaching the half-way point and speed work is going to start to kick in. This is the time where we really need to come together as a team.” That Williams is expected to compete on Saturday in Charlotte at the Wendy’s Invitational should help.
Winter Park ace Caleb Vogt was the overall runner-up at 15:36.0, eighth-fastest prep performance all day.
For Fort Mill SC, which finished 9th, Great American was a what-might-have-been experience. First the team had to go without #3 David Willis, who was sidelined by patella tendinitis. Then, near the end of the race itself, #2 Travis Owens stumbled and fell coming down the final pitch to the finish and had to be helped up from the ground by another teammate before both crossed the line. “But that’s racing,” Fort Mill Coach Scott Barefield said. “Hopefully we’ll do better at the Jesse Owens Classic” on Saturday.
1 Bishop Hendricken RI, War 87 -- 1 14 21 23 28 33 54
1 Tom Webb 06 Bishop Hendricke, W 15:23.60
7 James Phillips 06 Oakton HS, Vienna, 16:01.10
22 Andy Wacker 07 Pinecrest HS - B, S 16:34.80
6 Brian Sklodowski 07 Tatnall School, Wil 16:00.10
2 Caleb Vogt 06 Winter Park HS, Win 15:36.00
3. Brentsville District, Nokesville VA (#3)
9/24 – Great American, Nike Race of Champions, 5K, Cary NC
With SE#1 Jefferson idle and relatively untested, SE#4 Chapel Hill made a strong case for regional supremacy with its 3rd-place showing behind Northeast Region powers Saratoga Springs and Warwick Valley. Led by Coach Ron Olsen’s Big Three of Jack Bolas, Ryan Workman and Duncan Hoge – and backed by solid efforts from Miles Rampel and Taylor Muir – the Tigers posted an average time (16:15) that was the second-fastest of the day behind Saratoga.
Unranked St. Xavier KY, which finished third in last years state 3A meet and was not high on the regional radar entering the weekend, finished 5th overall and was the second team from the Southeast Region after Chapel Hill. Senior Scott McClain, 16th overall at 15:52.6, junior Brian Long (22nd at 16:00.1) and senior Thomas Davis (16:19.4) led a top 5 that averaged 16:27 and spread 84 seconds.
SE#7 Holy Trinity was next from the region at 8th place – one spot behind SW#6 and Harrier #12 Denver South. Kyle Cooke led the way for HTA at 15:51.6, 15th overall. And while star transfer Nate Taylor and Kyle Butler continue to struggle so far this season, Coach Doug Butler was not displeased with the results, particularly given the course. “We are not a hill running team,” Butler said. “Never have been. We have zero hills to train on here [in Florida]. So I believe we ran respectable with that in consideration…. We beat some very good teams but should have been about 20 seconds better and 80 points less. So this Saturday” – at the flrunner’s.com Invitational – “is a big day for us, and the boys know they have to all have a good one.”
SE#9 Parkview finished 10th in the ROC, led by steadily improving junior Michael Winston at 16:00.5 (23rd). “I thought we had a great opportunity to beat some teams that were ranked higher than us,” Coach James Tigue said, “but we let the opportunity slip away…. Overall, we were pretty happy, but we all felt we could have placed higher.” Tigue’s chief concern going forward is a 1-5 spread that was 78 seconds on Saturday. “It’s hard to beat good teams with a gap like that,” he said.
Depth has been a chief concern for Brentsville Coach Rob Dulin since before the start of the season, and an 11th-place finish at Great American put the problem in stark relief. Nick Gehlsen, 29th overall at 16:12.6, Henry Melius (30th at 16:13.5), and Adam Henken (33rd at 16:15.2) ran well up front for the SE#3 Tigers, but the gap from Henken to #4 Ray Delgado was almost a minute, and #5 Eric Ekholm hit the line more than 20 seconds later. “The boys were down after the race,” Dulin said. “They know we are stronger than what we showed at Great American…. We have to close our gap from 3 to 4 and 5.”
Marist GA, which finished 12th, opened the season at SE#9 but struggled early with issues much like those of Brentsville. Iain Turnbull (14th at 15:50.9) and Jack Bourbonnais (32nd at 16:14.5) both ran up to their usual standards on Saturday, and if #3 John Whitcomb (72nd at 16:52.5) had been running right with Bourbonnais as usual, Marist might have finished one position higher. Off days for two other runners behind #4 Reilly DeYonker (17:02.2) also proved costly, as the gap from 4 to 5 was 47 seconds. Coach Roy Benson described the team as “really down when we realized that 3 of our 7 runners had bad races.” But, Benson added, “After we analyzed the results and saw how we did versus the other Georgia teams, we felt better.”
Mountain Brook AL, ranked SE#6 entering the season but quickly cut down for lack of depth, finished 13th behind star freshman Bill Matthews (13th overall at 15:49.8), backed ably by seniors Nicholas Lepley (45th at 16:30.1) and Lee Bailey (53rd at 16:37.6). “The boys are getting better each week,” Coach Greg Echols said. “Bill ran exceptionally well. Nicholas and Lee are getting closer to him each week…. We are still a couple of weeks away, but our top three are clicking pretty well at this point.”
What could have been a sweet day for unranked Roberson NC turned sour just after the second mile when #2 Jason Morgan rolled his ankle and was forced to drop out of the race. “He limped out of the woods, and I intercepted him and took him to the trainer,” Coach Steve Carpenter said. “He’ll be fine. He has a bit of history with the ankle.” Carpenter estimated the loss cost the team about 45 seconds, and not more only because of a season-best performance from #6 Ben Dawson (126th at 17:30.2).
1 NE#6 Saratoga Springs HS, Sara 110 -- 3 12 21 34 40 60 99
1 Sandy Roberts 06 Broughton HS, Ralei 15:03.20
3 Jack Bolas 06 Chapel Hill HS, Cha 15:20.10
29 Nick Gehlsen 06 Brentsville HS, Nok 16:12.60
15 Kyle Cooke 09 Holy Trinity Aca, M 15:51.60
23 Michael Winston 07 Parkview HS, Lilbur 16:00.50
16 Scott McClain 06 St. Xavier HS, Loui 15:52.60
13 Bill Matthews 10 Mountain Brook H, B 15:49.80
14 Iain Turnbull 06 Marist School, Atla 15:50.90
41 Josh Morgan 06 T.C. Roberson HS, A 16:22.60
5. Tampa-Jesuit FL (#6)
9/22/05 – West Hillsborough Invitational, 5K, Tampa FL
Looking ahead to the big flrunner’s.com Invitational on Saturday, Mike Boza rested his top 5 and let the B group clean up at West Hillsborough against some light competition. Senior John Evans and junior Matt Hindman, who have been running 6 and 7 this season, led the way, and Boza was especially encouraged by Evans’ runner-up performance (16:53). “I anticipate that he will eventually be right there with [Phillip] Scrivner and [Connor] Revord,” Boza said, referring to his 2 and 3 runners. “John Evans and Phil Scrivner have always been pretty even until John sat out last spring and did not run track. He had lost his desire to run, but regained it when summer started and he has committed himself to getting back into top shape and back up with Phil. It looks like he is on pace to get there by season's end. He has made steady progress every week and will hopefully take one more step on Saturday” at the flrunner’s.com Invitational. “I think Saturday's race will be won by the team with the fastest #5 man. If so, we have as good a chance as anyone, especially with John getting back to form.”
Team scores: 1. SE#5 Jesuit 32; 2. Sickles 57; (12 teams total)
1. Evander Jones Jefferson 16:40
6. Chiles, Tallahassee FL (#8) – OFF.
Next: flrunner’s.com Invitational FL, Oct. 1
8. Hoover AL (#7)
9/24 – Spain Park Invitational, 5K, Hoover AL
Jeremy Moujoodi, Tim Landry and Stephen Payne paced Hoover to another easy win with their 1-2-3 finish. The Bucs may finally see some teams in their class at the Jesse Owens Classic on Saturday.
Team scores: 1. SE#8 Hoover 21; 2. Oak Mountain 114; 3. Hewitt 114
Smiths Station AL (---) – OFF
Next: flrunner’s.com Invitational FL, Oct. 1
McCallie, Chattanooga TN (---)
9/23 – McCallie Invitational, 3 miles, Greenway Farm, Chattanooga, TN
With their team’s top 3 given the day off, senior Tom Anderson and junior Justin Marquardt led a tight pack to secure the win for McCallie in its home invitational.
Team scores: 1. McCallie 26, 2. Baylor 59; (8 teams total)
1 Fassino, Steve Red Bank 15:53.26
Loyola-Blakefield, Baltimore MD (---) – OFF
Next: Harford Invitational MD, Sept 30.
Walton GA (---)
9/24 – Patriot Invitational, 5K, Georgia International Horse Park, Conyers GA
Junior Jay Heller and senior Cory Hunter went 1-2 overall – clocking 16:19 and 16:41, respectively – to lead Walton to the team title in the Patriot Invitational. Even without the services of usual #3 Adam Bradley, Walton put six runners in the top 25 of this 20-team field and averaged 17:08 for 1-5.
1 Walton 44 -- 1 2 11 13 17 23
GIRLS (w/ preseason ranking)
1. Scottsboro AL (#1)
9/24 – Spain Park Invitational, 5K, Hoover AL
On a weekend when several of the region’s most highly-regarded teams crash-landed at Great American, SE#1 Scottsboro fell hard much closer to home, losing to state rival Hoover in the Spain Park Invitational, the third meeting between the two teams this season. On a rolling, gravel course made more difficult by the hot, humid and very dry conditions, Devon Hind’s Bucs used an aggressive race strategy to secure a 2-point victory, getting their top 4 across the line in between the 2 and 3 runners for Scottsboro. “They just went after it from the start and held on to the finish,” Hind said. “We were all surprised by our victory over Scottsboro – we were just trying to close the gap on them, not really expecting to win.”
Said Scottsboro coach John Esslinger, “I don't think I had my team ready. Hats off to Hoover. They ran a great meet and simply beat us. No excuses. We hope that we can learn from this and try to get better. The girls were disappointed to say the least, but they handled the loss well. . . . Teams aren't going to have great meets every week.”
Scottsboro will have a good opportunity to bounce back at the much deeper Jesse Owens Classic on Saturday, and the Bucs, who also will be at Jesse Owens, will have a chance to prove that they are for real.
Team scores: 1. Hoover 31; 2. SE#1 Scottsboro 33
In a meet that included almost all of the region’s top 10 – only SE#1 Scottsboro AL, SE#7 Roosevelt MD and SE#10 Northwest MD were absent – SE#3 Episcopal made it clear which team is the region’s best. Episcopal may not be in the same league as meet-winner Saratoga Springs, but to lose your top runner and still finish 2nd in a meet of this caliber says something about the quality – and depth – of Michelle Krueger’s program. “I am so proud of the girls and their performance,” Krueger said. “They have been training so hard in order to have a great season.” As for #1 Emily Ingham, advised by her doctor two days before Great American to sit out the race due to a hip injury, Krueger expects her to be ready to race again by mid-October. “Emily knows November and December are what’s really important at this point,” Krueger said. “She said she would really have liked to have raced but knew that the team was going to do awesome. She was excited to be with the team and wanted them to use her energy.”
Brentsville VA may have had a sub-par day on the boys side, but the SE#6 Brentsville girls achieved their goal going in of finishing in the top 5, finishing 5th overall and 2nd from the Southeast Region. Junior Becky Stewart led the way for the Tigers, finishing 11th overall at 18:37.5. Brentsville #2 Julia Mitchell, also a junior, cracked the top-50, finishing 49th at 19:46, and was followed by freshman Lauren Bussian (69th at 20:05.4) and sophomores Amelia Emerson (79th at 20:13.2) and Alex Kulifay (83rd at 20:15.1). “We knew we did well because we came in together 3-5,” Coach Rob Dulin said. “All the girls ran strong races.” Kulifay, hampered recently by a calf strain that acted up about a mile into the race, “gave a gutty performance to hang on and round out our top 5 in the race,” Dulin said.
SE#8 Oakton VA showed its high preseason billing – SE#3 – was not far off the mark with a 6th-place finish in the Race of Champions. Kayley Byrne led the Lady Cougars, finishing 20th overall at 19:02.1. Meredith Tighe (42nd at 19:36.7) and Rebekah Berlin (43rd at 19:37.6) rounded out a strong top 3. Off days by regular top-5 runners Carly Hudson and an under-the-weather Hallie Eilerts, who ran 6 and 7 on Saturday, likely cost Oakton a higher finish. Coach Scott Raczko called the performance “another step in our journey to a successful end of the season. We are starting to come together and Meredith and Rebekah had nice races [Saturday] to show some of that progress. We will continue to get better and more experienced and begin to put it together on the same day.”
SE#2 Mountain Brook AL and SE#9 Collins Hill GA finished 7th and 8th, respectively, close on the heels of both Brentsville and Oakton – 15 points separated the four teams on Saturday. Madeline Morgan, 16th overall at 18:48.9, and Leslie Boozer (26th at 19:11.8) delivered a strong 1-2 punch for Mountain Brook, and #3 Brigid Carey posted a solid 19:52.2 (55th). But some bad luck to the team’s 4 and 5 runners made for a nearly 2-minute 1-5 spread. First, #5 Lucy Newton went down soon after the gun, leading to a race re-start. Then #4 Laura Loveless was knocked to the ground on a downhill portion near the 1-mile mark. Both ran poorly as a result, but “that is part of any sport,” said Coach Greg Echols. The team, Echols added, was “obviously disappointed after the race, because they knew, with our 4 and 5 not up where they should have been, that they probably did not place very well. The best thing about this bunch, though, is they put it behind them after a little while and move on. They had a great time this weekend.”
Jackie Drouin paced Collins Hill with her 10th-place finish at 18:35.6, followed by Erin Guglielmo in 33rd at 19:21.9. Alexis Nichols (67th at 20:03.5) and Allyson McGinty (76th at 20:08.3) rounded out a solid top 4, but a gap of 43 seconds to the team’s next finisher was not what Coach Andrew Hudson had in mind.
SE#5 Midlothian, in 11th place, was the region’s next finisher. Junior M.C. Miller turned in a solid performance to lead the team in, finishing 34th at 19:22.8, but a young group of girls behind Miller was missing one of its strongest runners (freshman newcomer Paige Johnston, #2 in Midlo’s opening meet, had a soccer commitment) and was otherwise not at its best. “I think the field of all the top teams in the country had them nervous and stressed out before the gun was ever fired,” Morgan said.
For SE#4 Cardinal Gibbons, a veteran team comprised mostly of seniors, the calamity was much greater. The hometown favorite, Gibbons entered Great American with high expectations. And pressure – the team was the subject of a Wednesday advance on the meet in the Raleigh News & Observer, and this meet in particular had long been targeted as a place to earn a #1 or #2 regional ranking and prove that the team belonged among the nation’s elite. “The Great American is where we want to show what we can do,” Gibbons #1 Heather Beichner told the News & Observer.
A 17th-place finish in the Race of Champions surely was not what Beichner had in mind, though her team-leading finish at 19:25.4 (37th place) can hardly be faulted.
“I am not sure” what happened, Coach Justin Scranton said Monday. “The loss is still pretty fresh in my mind, and I haven’t been able to make sense of it. Collectively, we ran about as poorly as we can run. For perspective, both Chapel Hill and T.C. Roberson” – Carolina teams in the seeded invitational that Gibbons beat handily earlier in the season – “would have beaten us on Saturday.”
“We certainly weren’t peaking for this race but we ran much better last weekend in worse heat and [with] no competition,” Scranton went on, referring to his team’s win in the Raleigh Invitational at the same SAS Soccer Park facility that hosted Great American. “Ultimately, it seems like a problem of mental preparation and something physically not being right. I am not sure what it was, but I did something wrong as a coach. I take full responsibility for our failure Saturday. We will move on and we will run very well at Mt. SAC [on Oct. 22]. I am not sure if there is any way to reestablish our ranking, but we will certainly try.”
1 NE#1 Saratoga Springs HS, Sara 68 -- 3 5 16 21 23 49 77
1 Aislinn Ryan 06 Warwick Valley H, W 17:05.50
10 Jackie Drouin 07 Collins Hill HS, Su 18:35.60
11 Becky Stewart 07 Brentsville HS, Nok 18:37.50
16 Madeline Morgan 10 Mountain Brook H, B 18:48.90
17 Kayla Hale 10 Holy Trinity Aca, M 18:56.30
19 Laura Steel 09 Episcopal HS - G, J 19:00.70
20 Kayley Byrne 06 Oakton HS, Vienna, 19:02.10
22 Brittany Johnson 06 Green Hope HS, Cary 19:02.50
34 M.C. Miller 07 Midlothian HS, Midl 19:22.80
37 Heather Beichner 09 Cardinal Gibbons, R 19:25.40
38 Jennifer Watunya 07 Padua Academy, Wilm 19:29.10
7. Eleanor Roosevelt MD (---)
9/4 – Mountaintop Combo, 5K, Preston HS, Kingwood WV
In their first official test of the season over a full 5K, Desmond Dunham’s Roosevelt girls passed with flying colors on the challenging layout at Preston High School. Sophomore Dominique Lockhart, at 19:11, finished not far behind heralded Berkeley Springs star Rachel Buser (19:07), one of the top returnees from the 2004 Footlocker South meet (18:09). Buser, Lockhart and Roosevelt junior Marika Walker (3rd at 19:30), all dipped under the meet record of 19:36 set last year by Keri Bland of North Marion WV – as did Kaylyn Christopher of host Preston and Bland herself (19:35).
“I am extremely pleased with the results,” Dunham said. “I thought that the course would be a little intimidating; however, the girls showed a lot of heart, determination, and focus. They definitely executed their strategy and we came out a lot stronger than I had imagined. After this meet, it's confirmed that we have a very strong 1-2 punch as they ran with West Virginia's best and even feel that our 3rd runner” – freshman Teskika Rivers, 6th overall at 20:04 – “can run with most top Southeast teams #2 runners.”
1 SE#7 Eleanor Roosevelt High Sc 30 -- 2 3 6 9 10 16 33
10. Northwest, Germantown MD (---)
9/24 – Oatlands Invitational, 5K, Oatlands Plantation, Leesburg, VA
New to the Top 10, Northwest made quick work of the large field at Oatlands, winning by 70 points over a strong Westfield VA team in second. Sophomore Emma Eckerstrom, 8th overall at 19:45, and senior Rachel Forcino (10th at 19:49) led the way for a Northwest team that put 4 runners in the top 20. Out of a varsity field that featured 34 teams and 238 runners, Eckerstrom and Forcino were two of just 12 runners who broke 20:00 on a rolling layout that included one water crossing. “I was pleased with how the team responded to such a large field,” Northwest Coach Beth Muehl said, “and how they kept their composure throughout the race.”
1 SE#10 Northwest High School 104-- 8 10 15 17 54 66 93
1 Copeland, Brittany JR Brooke Point Hig 19:04.94
8 Eckerstrom, Emma SO Northwest 19:45.41
13 Potosinski, Tasia SO Westfield HS 20:02.64
Tatnall, Wilmington DE (---)
9/24 – Great American, Seeded Invitational, 5K, Cary NC
Unranked Tatnall DE, the winner of the Seeded Invitational race at Great American, posted a top-5 average (20:00.44) that was better than all but 10 schools from the Nike Race of Champions – and just 5 schools from the Southeast Region. Buchholz FL (20:06.98), Chapel Hill NC (20:09.86) and T.C. Roberson NC (20:13.32), likewise unranked entering the weekend, were not far behind.
1 Tatnall School, Wilmington DE 144 -- 9 13 26 47 49 78 137
1 Ashley Brasovan 10 Wellington HS, Well 17:33.00
7 Natalie Doss 06 Buchholz HS, Gaines 19:22.00
9 Annie Castagno 07 Tatnall School, Wil 19:23.90
11 Becky Johnson 07 Chapel Hill HS, Cha 19:32.10
12 Caroline Kirby 09 T.C. Roberson HS, A 19:34.20
Dulaney, Timonium MD (#9) – OFF
Next: Glory Days Grill Invitational VA, Oct. 8
Our Lady of Lourdes, Miami FL (#10)
9/24 – Stanford Invitational, 5K, Stanford University Golf Course
Lourdes won the unseeded race and finished 14th overall in combined scoring at the Stanford Invitational, a meet featuring many of the top teams on the West Coast. Junior Sasha Mera, at 20:17, led the way for a top 5 that averaged 20:31 and spread just 26 seconds. This weekend Lourdes will be competing in another giant invitational, though this time a bit closer to home: the fl.runners.com Invitational.
GIRL'S DIVISION 1 – Combined Seeded & Unseeded Team Scores
1 379 Lauren Saylor JR BUCHANAN 17:38 5:41
1 74 2453 Sasha Mera JR 20:17
Morgantown WV (---)
9/24 – Spiked Shoe Invitational, 5K, Penn State HS XC Course, State College, PA
Ranked SE#9 entering the season, Morgantown turned in its best performance of the fall to win at the Spiked Shoe Invitational, putting all 7 runners in the top 24 – and all under 20:13 – on the mostly-flat golf course layout that Coach John Patti calls one of his team’s favorite to run. Maria Dalzot, 7th overall at 19:11, and Monica Chase (8th at 19:44) led the way for Morgantown, which spread 52 seconds 1-5.
1 Morgantown (WV) 63 – 7 8 15 16 17 18 23
1 Katherine Ward, Jr 18:35 6:00 State College Hs
John Dye - founder and editor in chief