The Weekend Rewind: Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons

* Pinecrest's (NC) Carmen Alder set a meet and course record on the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex course on Saturday at the NC Runners Elite XC Invitational

Photo Credit: Jeff Sides/NC Runners 

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When the cancellations of this past spring gave Carmen Alder lemons, she made lemonade.

In July, the Pinecrest (NC) senior nearly set a PR for 1,600 meters, hitting 4:52.32 on the clock at an outdoor meet in Mt. Holly. In August, she traveled to Tennessee to throw down a personal best of 10:36.58 for 3,200m. And in September, lacing up for her first meet of her last season of cross country, Alder broke 17 minutes for the first time. 

If that wasn't enough, on Saturday, the Brigham Young Univeristy commit ran a course and meet record at the NCRunners Elite Invitational in Kernersville -- the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex is the site for the North Carolina state cross country championships -- and produced a winning time of 17:11.17. 

"I was just really focused on ...I have to save energy for the last mile," Alder said. "I have to focus on not going too hard." 

That lemonade probably tastes pretty good right now.

On Saturday, she was 52 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Vanessa Alder, her younger sister and Pinecrest's No. 2.

* The girls race at the NC Runners Elite XC Invitational

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Older sister Carmen  blitzed the course as if she'd be on it a 100 times.

"I came into this race thinking 'I know this course, I've ran it lots of times,'" she said. 

While 11 girls broke 19 minutes, Alder was the only athlete to go under 18. That was important, she said, because it would form a benchmark for the next time she would race on the course, likely in February during North Carolina's rescheduled cross country championships. 

"This is our state course," said Alder, clarifying that North Carolina's condensed season will run from December through February. "We can come back to state. Hopefully when state comes around, based off this time, we can go even faster." 

Carly Wilkes, a junior at Glenvar (VA) High School in Salem, Virginia, was third overall in 18:15.29. Like the Alder's season, Wilkes campaign has also been delayed until 2021.

Overall, the race was at least something, even if there were only 42 competitors. It gave all runners a chance to realize their offseason training in a competitive race, with many going after season and career bests. 

And that's something that the Alder's have been doing nonstop since their spring season was erased. 

"It was a little sad," Carmen said. "We were kind of like, 'Let's just go right into cross country.'" 

But it's been so far, so good for Alder in 2020. 

NC Runners: Photos - Results

NC Runners Elite XC Invitational Girls Race

PLACE ATHLETE TEAM RESULT POINTS 1 Carmen Alder 12 Franklin Elite Athletics Track Club 17:11.17 0 2 Vanessa Alder 10 Franklin Elite Athletics Track Club 18:03.24 0 3 Carly Wilkes 11 Unattached (Club) 18:15.29 0 4 Sierra Collins 12 Harnett County TC 18:17.04 0 5 Kayla Werner 11 Pacers Home School 18:27.05 0 6 Quinn Shanahan 12 Unattached AAU 18:30.23 1 7 Angie Allen 12 North Lincoln 18:38.04 0 8 Maddie Huecker 11 Unattached AAU 18:54.57 2 9 Morgan Boonshaft 9 Providence Day School 18:56.39 0 10 Madeline Stolberg 10 Unattached AAU 18:59.02 3

St. Charles East wins barnburner versus in-state rival Neuqua Valley: 

Sometimes, things are just understood. MileSplit50 No. 5 ranked St. Charles East didn't need a reminder of what it faced on Friday at the Naperville Twilight Invitational.

The defending IHSA Class 3A champions knew they had to bring their absolute best. 

And faced against nationally ranked Neuqua Valley (No. 20) and some of Illinois' top programs, the Saints did what they do best, winning the varsity boys race with 60 points over NV (73), Wheaton North (118) and Naperville North (118). 

While St. Charles East junior Micah Wilson lost his first race of the season, finishing second overall to NV's Nicolas Dovalovsky, he paced the Saints up front and made sure the team's next two scorers -- seniors Luke Schildmeyer and Zack Loomis -- remained with him as they looked to build a comfortable gap up front. 

Ultimately, the performance was a big statement for St. Charles East, especially as teams like New Trier and Lyons Township look to unseat the Saints this season. 

But it also leaves just enough room for improvement, enough so that St. Charles East won't be satisfied. Illinois' action is only heating up. 

Meanwhile, in the girls race Naperville North exploded for a dominant 24-point victory, watching as all five of its scorers finished in the top seven. 

Batavia's Katrina Schlenker won the overall 3-mile race in 17:09.09, while the Huskies' Maggie Gamboa was second overall in 17:13.40.

Boys Race: 

1	Nicolas Dovalovsky	12	Neuqua Valley High School	14:44.07	1
2	Micah Wilson	11	St. Charles East High School	14:46.40	2
3	Ryan Schreiner	11	Wheaton North High School	15:06.06	3
4	Luke Schildmeyer	12	St. Charles East High School	15:07.45	4
5	Zack Loomis	12	St. Charles East High School	15:08.11	5
6	Brandon Kamp	12	Naperville Central High School	15:09.22	6

Girls Race: 

1	Katrina Schlenker	11	Batavia High School	17:09.09	1
2	Maggie Gamboa	12	Naperville North High School	17:13.40	2
3	Samantha Poglitsch	12	Wheaton Warrenville South High School	17:23.13	3
4	Lucy Westlake	11	Naperville North High School	17:37.08	4
5	Audrey Mendrys	12	Naperville North High School	17:41.03	5

Southlake Carroll runs away at new-look Coach T Invitational:

There was likely an aire of rememberance on Saturday at North Lakes Park in Denton. 

The Marcus I Invitational was renamed 'The Coach T Invitational' after the sudden passing of late Marcus coach Steve Telaneus in May, and in a lot of ways, it was a place where runners could pay their respects in the form of 5Ks. 

The meet was different in other ways, too, appropriate considering COVID-19 had forced many new procedures. Instead of its usual volume and hundreds of kids on the line, races feaured only eight teams at a time -- new UIL rules for the cross country season. 

But that was just fine. 

In the end, there was good cross country to be had, and Coach T would have appreciated that.

Southlake Carroll claimed team victories on the boys and girls sides, as the Dragons scored 47 in the boys varsity race and 49 in the girls event. Southlake posted an impressive 38-second spread in the girls race, finishing all five of its girls between sixth and 15th. The boys, meanwhile, did exactly the same thing -- almost down to the placement. 

Flower Mound's Natalie Cook won the girls race in 17:48.45, while Lewisville Marcus's Austin Owens was the only other girl to break 18 minutes. Coppell's Evan Caswell (top) won the boys race in 15:15.39, leading three under 15:30 and 10 under 16 minutes. 

Top 5: Boys Race

1	Evan Caswell	12	Coppell	15:15.39	1
2	Greyson Gravitt	12	Lewisville Marcus	15:29.42	2
3	Jacob Ricks	12	Flower Mound	15:29.85	3
4	Jeriel Algerian-Marquez	12	Lewisville Hebron	15:37.40	4
5	Antonio Florcruz	12	Southlake Carroll	15:43.29	5

Top 5: Girls Race

1	Natalie Cook	11	Flower Mound	17:48.45	1
2	Austin Owen	11	Lewisville Marcus	17:54.16	2
3	Emma Curry	12	Waxahachie	18:15.89	3
4	Keaton Morrison	12	Lewisville Hebron	18:28.47	4
5	Emilee Jones	9	Waxahachie	18:40.77	5

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Wingfood XC Classic winners had all-Georgia feel: 

This year's Wingfoot XC Classic had a very in-state feel, with every single winner at the individual or team level hailing from the Peach State. 

On the girls side, Riverwood International Charter's Elle Mezzio was the only female to drop a sub-19 performance for 5K, winning the overall race in 18:58.9. 

But that wasn't all. 

Mezzio's effort also set up a dominant victory from RIC, which scored all five of its scorers inside the top 20 for a winning score of 39 points. 

Meanwhile, there was another double in the boys race, too. 

Decatur's Eoin McNally led all finishers with a time of 16:46.1, which helped his squad to a winning score of 50 points, thereby dispatching talented Georgia programs Walton (66) and Brookwood (69) en route to the victory. 

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The Most Interesting Colorado Matchup Heading Into The State Championships On Oct. 17:

This weekend, Mountain Vista's girls threw a huge wrinkle into the race for a Colorado state championship, winning the Region 5A-2 Championships on Friday over nationally-ranked Valor Christian

What seemed like a season in which the Eagles would claim their first state title in Colorado now seems reasonably in doubt if the Golden Eagles can replicate that success. 

What Mountain Vista lacked in front-end punch, it made up for with sustained depth, finishing its top five girls in the first 10 places and its sixth in 11th, scoring a winning total of 34 points.

That ultimately outpaced the Eagles, which scored 37.

But Valor Christian was missing a critical piece in No. 3 Lanie Szuch; plus, the Eagles' average of 19:09 was better by a full 10 seconds. AND, the speed ratings say Valor Christian was the better overall team, too: 116.2-114.4. 

But ultimately, points don't lie. The question mark is still there. If nothing else, the state championships on Oct. 17 will be as entertaining as ever. 

CHSAA Region 5A-2

1	Mountain Vista High School	34	4+5+6+9+10 (11)	0:22 1-5 Split | 19:14 Avg
2	Valor Christian High School	37	1+2+7+13+14	0:53 1-5 Split | 19:09 Avg
3	Fruita Monument High School	89	3+12+22+24+28 (48)	2:07 1-5 Split | 20:11 Avg
4	Chatfield High School	124	8+21+27+32+36 (43)	2:11 1-5 Split | 20:42 Avg
5	Heritage High School	128	15+18+20+25+50	2:55 1-5 Split | 20:55 Avg

Top Performances Of The Weekend: 

  • Abby Vanderkooi, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian: She secured her second straight sub-17 performance on Saturday, this one coming at the West Ottawa Girls Invite in 16:59.15. It's the fastest recorded time of the weekend. 
  • Analee Weaver, Stillwater (MN): Fresh off her (unofficial) Minnesota state record in the 5K in cross country, Weaver followed with a performance of 17:15.00 at the Suburban East Conference Championships on Wednesday. 
  • Lizzie Dildine, Eagle (ID): The standout Idahoan ran a state-leading 17:34.34 on Saturday in a dual meet. 
  • Sofie Matson, Falmouth (ME): Maine's top girls runner secured her season's best on Saturday in another tri-meet, this time going 17:37.70. That performance is only eight seconds off her career best for 5K in XC.
  • Zoe Duffus, Fort Wayne Carroll (IN): Duffus unloaded for her second sub-17:40 performance over her last two meets, winning the Section 12 Champs in 17:39.60.
  • Meghan Ford, Jamestown (ND): Kora Malacek, Onalaska (WI): Ford geared up for her best performance of the fall, winning the WDA Championships on Saturday in 17:40.15.
  • Aubrey O'Connell, Prosper (TX): O'Connell went under 18 for the first time in 2020, winning the fourth North Texas XC Circuit race on Saturday in 17:53.62.
  • Micah Poellet, Linn Mar (IA): Poellet put down her fastest 5K since 2018 on Saturday, posting the third-fastest performance in Iowa this season in 17:54.56 at the Linn-Mar Invitational. It's the second fastest 5K, only behind her 17:52 as a sophomore. 
  • Naomi Bailey, West Valley (AK): Bailey captured her first Alaska State Division I championship on Saturday in Anchorage, posting her second sub-18 time of the season in 17:56.00.
  • Tristian Merchant, Anchorage Christian (AK): Merchant set an all-time best at the state championship course in Anchorage on Saturday, winning his third straight Alaska State Division II Championship in 14:51.
  • Riley Hough, Hartland (MI): Hough not only picked up his seventh win of the season, but he also passed Hunter Jones for the top time in Michigan right now, as he secured a 5K best of 14:48.40 in a tri-meet on Saturday.
  • Joshua Truchon, West Allis Hale (WI): He won the GMC Varsity Championships over the weekend, running a career best of 15:13.40. That's the second-fastest effort in Wisconsin right now. 
  • Brock Wooderson, Blue Springs (MO): He ran the third-fastest 5K of 2020 in Missouri on Saturday, posting a PR of 15:21.37 at the Springdale Schools Invitational.
  • Matt Bogdan, Colts Neck (NJ): New Jersey is back. Bogdan scored a big win on Saturday at the Cougar Invitational, hitting 15:24.27 on the clock. 
  • Owen Hays, Lyons Township (IL): Hays led his squad in a dual meet on Saturday, hitting 15:26.00 on the clock for 5K.
  • Sean Korsmo, Bismarck (ND): Korsmo unloaded for a North Dakota-leading time of 15:26.85 at the WDA Championships on Saturday. 
  • Sam Rich, Catawba Ridge (SC): Rich won the George Moss XC Classic on Saturday in 15:12.98.

Related Links: 

The Weekend Rewind