A big weekend of cross country racing took place over the past few days and we have all the news for you in our weekly weekend wrap-up. Top matchups individually and team, boys and girls, span across each meet summary. See which teams stood out this weekend, as the season starts to heat up.
Tiffin Carnival (OH) / Wickham Park Jamboree (FL) / Pleasant Valley Invitational (IA) / Berry Invitational (GA) / UNM Lobo Invitational (NM) / Marcus I Invitational (TX) / Hinsdale Hornet-Red Devil Inv. (IL) / Eye Opener (SC) / BYU Autumn Classic (UT) / Cherry Creek Invitational (CO) / Palmer Invitational (AK)
Weekend Results (9/5-9/7)
OHRunners.com Meet Summary by Jim Findlay
Boys Division I
Centerville went to Tiffin to prove that they could have early season success against some of the state's best teams, and they certainly proved that. Many people know that both Shawn Roberts and Eric Schmidt are impressive high school runners, and while these two finished in the top ten at Tiffin, the most impressive races for Centerville were turned in by their third and fourth runners. Centerville's third runner, Matt Montavon, finished ahead of all but three team's second finisher, while their fourth runner, Logan Wright, finished ahead of all but six team's third finisher. Mentor may have had all five runners cross the line first, but because of Montavon and Wright's impressive finish Centerville was able to hold off Mentor 140-151.
Centerville Coach Jimmy Weckesser summed up his team's performance at Tiffin when he declard the win "the biggest victory in Centerville Cross Country history." Coach Weckesser will be looking to rewrite the Centerville Cross Country history books again this year as he prepares his team for the State Meet, a meet that could be bigger than Tiffin for Centerville.
In the individual race, senior Stuart Edmonds of Twinsburg beat defending State Champion Donny Roys of Medina by two seconds. Edmonds was able to hit another gear to finish the race. Roys seemed unable to respond to the sudden surge by Edmonds.
Girls Division I
Magnificat was simply sensational, placing their scorers all in the top 25. Magnificat really showed why they deserved to be the top ranked team in the state by having their fifth runner finish ahead of every team's third finisher, and ahead of most team's second finisher. Magnificat ran away with the team title, beating second ranked North Canton Hoover 77-153.
North Royalton sophomore Hannah Neczypor made a name for herself last year by winning her district, finishing second at her region, and coming in 15th at the 2007 State Meet in Cross Country and by finishing third in the 3200m at last June's State Meet for Track and Field, so everyone know she is good. But what people didn't know is that she is this good so early in the season. At Tiffin Neczypor dropped about 45 seconds off of her PR (according to results available to OHRunners/MileSplit). Tiffin may be a fast course, but it's not 45 seconds fast! Hannah easily won the race finishing ahead of runner up senior Tori Brink from Hilliard Davidson. Rest of Summary
FLRunners.com Meet Summary by Jason Byrne
Not unexpectedly, Kayla Hale dominated the race from nearly the start. Under muddy conditions the Holy Trinity senior opened her season with a time of 18:56. Her closest competitor was Juliana Stern of Satellite, almost a minute back at 19:49. Although it is an unofficial, non-scored meet Holy Trinity dominated the female race going 1-3-4-5-7 (Hale, Teresa Ristow, Melissa Jones, Brianna Wahy, Savannah McKendree). It should be noted that Satellite did not run with all their guns blaring today.
On the boys side the race was perhaps more competitive, and Holy Trinity was similarly impressive--especially up front. The Tigers' took first and second with excellent opening times from Bret Butler (16:24) and David Kilgore (16:27). James Stern of Satellite was third in 16:41. The rest of Holy Trinity's top five were Tyler Truitt 16:56, Joey Castagnaro 17:26, and Alex Brown 18:57. They were without normal number five Adam Cooke.
Every year some of the top teams in Iowa and Illinois take to the course at the Pleasant Valley Challenge and see just how well their hard summer work paid off. This year Naperville North (IL) and Iowa City High (IA) squared off in the girls race, both teams very evenly matched in up front talent and back end depth. This closeness showed with a small victory for North, beating Iowa City 38-43.
North followed the lead of individual race winner Michelle Stratton, while Iowa City's Kelsey Hart finished second. Stranton edged Hart 15:04-15:18 (4k distance). The key to North's success however came from the great running of their third runner Jamie Schertz, who placed seventh and outdistanced Iowa City's third by four spots.
On the boys side, Pleasant Valley (IA) continued their dominance in Iowa despite losing many of their top runners to graduation. Pleasant Valley scored a 67-72 victory over a tough Burlington (IA) squad, as Pleasant Valley junior Austin O'Brien won the race in 16:31. O'Brien outedged Burlington's top runner, and race runner-up JT McCarthy in the final stretch of the 5k race.
One of the best meets in the country took place in Georgia this weekend. On Saturday many of the best distance runners in the south took part in the Berry Invitational, bringing together such squads as Mountain Brook (AL), Hoover (AL), Marietta (GA) and Baylor (TN).
On the boys side one of the the best individual matchups of the season took place, as Patrick McGregor (Sr., Hoover, AL), Bill Matthews (Sr., Baylor, TN) and Taylor Lord (Sr., Chapel Hill, NC) faced off. The trio ran together for the first part of the race, with McGregor pulling away convincingly over the final half to win in a great time of 15:50, setting the tone for the season that he is one of the top athletes in the south this fall.
Behind McGregor, Lord and Matthews battled with Lord edging Matthews 16:01-16:07. While Matthews Baylor squad was expected considered the pre-meet favorite, Mountain Brook (AL) crept up and won the team title, scoring 134 points, eight better than Marietta. Behind the top two came Hoover and Baylor, finishing with 148 and 161 points respectively.
On the girls side Mountain Brook continued to show why they're one of the best teams in the country. The '07 NTN top six team won the meet by a 37-179 margin over Alpharetta, setting themselves up nicely as they move forward. Mountain Brook placed 1-5-6-10-15, with senior front runner Madeline Morgan taking home the individual title in 18:22.
Morgan, however, did have competition, as Sydney Marshall (Jr., Chattahoochee, GA) gave her quite the challenge, finishing only 16 seconds behind in 18:38. While 16 seconds may be a lot of time in some readers eyes, consider that Morgan will be favored to win by much more this fall in many of her competitions. Also consider that third place finisher Allie Schaich (South Forsyth, NC) finished 58 seconds back from Marshall in 19:36.
An early season match-up between two fo the top teams in the land became a bit one sided, as U.S.#4 Albuquerque Academy (NM) defeated in-state rival and U.S.#10 Los Alamos (NM) to win the boys team title. In the end Academy bested Los Alamos by a 52-83, showing their pack strength is a key to victory, with the team spliting a nice 23 second 1-5 split.
(photo right of Emmett Wynn, Taylor Murray and Pat Zacharias from left to right in red jerseys by Gary Murray)
Led by junior Pat Zacharias, Academy started their season off in similar fashion to last year's event, beating Los Alamos and making a statement that they're one of the best teams in the land. However, Los Alamos closed out their season last year on a very high note and still ran an agressive race Saturday. Senior leader Gareth Gilna led Los Alamos with a runner-up effort in 15:43.41.
Winning the race was Bryce Palmer (Sr., Eldorado, NM), who simply ran away from the field to win by 15 seconds in 15:28.88. Palmer's Eldorado teammate Kevin Palmer placed third in a respectible 15:44.31, helping his team place fourth behind Cibola 113-120.
On the girls side, Clara Milne (Jr., Albquerque Academy, NM) led her Academy team to a second place team finish, while Milne won the individual title in 18:51.94, 23 seconds ahead of runner-up Elba Holgin (Sr., Albuquerque, NM). Academy finished second behind La Cueva 86-100. Rio Rancho was third with 116 points.
Perhaps the most interesting news coming out of the girls race came from La Cueva, who won the girls race with only five runners in the final scoring, running 4, 9, 13, 23, 37 and their top three showing they will be a dominant force throughout the season.
Many anticipated the Marcus I Invitational Saturday as the early season test between Foot Locker finalist CJ Brown (Sr., Southlake Carroll, TX) and Craig Lutz (So., Marcus, TX), and that hype certainly lived up to its billing.
Lutz, the sophomore sensation, beat Brown by six seconds, earning an early season victory over his in-state rival 15:33.3-15:39.5. Lutz' victory also helped guide his team to a runner-up team finish, with Flower Mound (TX) placing first with 73 points and Marcus (TX) taking the second spot with 95 points.
Brown's finish paced his team to a fourth place finish, losing to Coppell (TX) 117-124. Coppell also placed well on the girls side, placing second behind team champion Keller (TX) 88-123. Coppell followed the lead set by individual runner-up Kim Kirby, who finished ten seconds behind race champion Tara Upshaw (Sr., Southlake Carroll, TX) in 11:20.30.
The opener of defending NTN boys champions Neuqua Valley (IL) was sure to be an exciting one Saturday, as the talented team from Illinois showed that they will be a force once again in 2008. Ranked U.S.#9 in the current MileSplit National Cross Country Rankings, Neuqua Valley showed that they have the talent up top this fall, as well as incredible depth that will be matched by very few.
From the onset of the race, senior leader Danny Pawola (Neuqua Valley) (pictured left) took the lead, slowly but surely drifting away from his competition. Despite a soft ground, Pawola managed to run 15:08.7, finising well up on second place runner and teammate Aaron Beattie (So., Neuqua Valley, IL). Beattie beat third place runner Matt Marol (Sr., Evanston, IL) 15:24.4-15:28.5.
Neuqua Valley won the team trophy over IL#5 Palatine (IL) by a 32-82 margin. Neuqua Valley placed their top seven in the top 15, while putting nine in the top twenty. Wheaton Warrenville South (IL) placed third in the boys race with a 101 point tally.
Perhaps the biggest story of the day was the emergence of Sarah McIntosh (So., Palatine, IL). Last year at this race, McIntosh finished fourteenth overall in the girls open race. This year McIntosh took control early and showed she will be an athlete to vie for top five at state come November, as she ran 18:04.5 to run away from Elaine Kuckertz (Jr., Hinsdale Central, IL). Kuckertz finished the three mile race in 18:11.1.
While McIntosh won the battle, Hinsdale Central won the war, despite having one of their top runners not finish the race. IL#2 Hinsdale Central won over IL#4 Palatine 42-51, as both squads showed some up front firepower, as well as persuasive depth through five girls. A handful of Illinois ranked squads competed well in the meet, as Wheaton Warrenville South and Neuqua Valley placed third and fourth respectively with 108 and 120 points.
Seneca freshman Tameka Jackson and Woodmont junior Aaron Ramirez (watch interview with Ramirez) sealed championship victories at the 25th Eye Opener, held at The Roger Milliken Center in Spartanburg.
Jackson finished in 20 minutes, 7 seconds with second-place finisher Sophia Treakle, a senior from Asheville (N.C.) finishing runner-up in 20 minutes, 13 seconds. Blue Ridge senior Sarah Turman rounded out the top three with NCISAA runner Caitlin Selle (Westminster Catawba) fourth in 20 minutes, 34 seconds. SCRunners.com Meet Article
Despite a few of the top runners in the state sitting out their first major competition of the season, the BYU Autumn Classic kicked off the season in Utah in high style. Perhaps the most surprising victory of the day came in the girls varsity race, which saw Mountain Crest knock off Davis 85-94, as both squads showed they have a lot of talent and depth in 2008.
However, Davis ran without Utah top five runner Candace Eddy. With Eddy out of the race, Shalaya Kipp (Jr., Skyline, UT) ran away from the field over the final 800m, beating freshman newcomer Danielle Menlove (Fr., Jordan, UT) by eight seconds. Kipp finished the 5k race in 19:42.0, while Menlove finished in 19:50.3.
Utah powerhouse Timpview also came up big despite running without a full varsity line up. The squad placed first over a strong field, taking home the team title with 124 points, 36 points ahead of runner-up Ogden, while Mountain View placed third with 161 points.
Individually, Karl Wilcock (Hurricane, UT) won the overall title in 16:52.4. His closest challenge came from Benjamin Johnson (Orem, UT), who finished in a strong second with a time of 17:02.1 over the challenging 5k spread. This was most certainly a great way tot kick off the season in Utah.
U.S.#8 Fort Collins (CO) girls team came out last weekend and showed who the top girls team in the state this year was early on. The squad simply broke their competition throughout the 5k race, setting themselves up well for this weekend at the Cherry Creek Invitational.
Once again Fort Collins beat some strong competition, this time defeating runner-up Doherty (CO) 38-91, and third place Dakota Ridge (CO), who finished third with 95 points. Fort Collins used a tight pack up top to beat the field, led by runner-up Miranda Benzel. Benzel finished second to race champion Natosha Rogers (Sr., Dakota Ridge, CO) 18:02-18:20.
Elsewhere, Cherry Creek (CO) took home the team title at their own invitational in the boys varsity race, besting second place Chaparral (CO) 81-95. Cherry Creek was led by individual winner Walter Schafer, who won the race over Wheat Ridge senior Dart Schwaderer 15:30-15:34. Despite Wheat Ridge (CO) placing their top three finishers in second, fourth and fifth place, the squad only managed a third place effort. If the squad hopes to repeat as state champions they will most certainly have to improve their depth.