Daniel Skandera Breaks Away, Wins RunningLane XC Title

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Daniel Skandera started moving just after the 10 minute mark on Saturday. 

Surging on John Hunt Park's crucial hill, the Alabama native -- who is homeschooled -- took the lead and began to put on the pace. 

It was the perfect move, because Skandera lost the field with 1K to go before going on to score the gold championship title and a top time of 15:05.30 at the fourth annual RunningLane Cross Country Championships, earning himself a PR -- not to mention a nice little TrackSmith gift card in the process. 

Perhaps the win also signified the ascendance of Skandera, a former youth world-record holder whose family moved from Santa Rosa, California to Alabama.

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In May, Skandera clocked a time of 9:13.21 at the RunningLane Track Championships. 

"I just made sure I started off really relaxed and after the first mile, I put myself in a good condition," Skandera said. "I knew since I had run this race before that the best place to make a move was right after the top of the hill."

Skandera's performance highlighted a day that saw tough racing through stretches of rain that toggled from downpour to drizzle.

But in the end, it was all about that effort. 

Oakton's (VA) Junior Allen was second in 15:15, while Farragut (TN) senior and Furman signee Matteo Tonnos was third in 15:16.90. Iowa State recruit Isaac Rivera was fourth in 15:17.50, while Jaden Merrick, a fast-emerging sophomore out of Iowa, was fifth in 15:19.50.

After the individual win was decided, it was on to the team race. 

And boy did things get interesting. 

While top seeds Cheyenne Mountain and Deer Creek struggled in the rain, a Utah program brushed it off. 

Led by Devan Greene, who finished in 41st-place, Lehi Skyridge (UT) clocked a 31-second spread and handled the conditions the best in the gold race -- despite the team's 1-through-5 being separated by just over 80 places. 

"It's amazing honestly," Greene said. "We came here thinking we could do it. We believed in ourselves the whole time."

Farragut was second with 119 points, while New Orleans Brother Martin (LA) was third with 162. 

Daniel Skander's Interview

Skyridge's Interview

Top Photos

Photo Credit: Ben Thompson

Photo Credit: Alison Markham

Photo Credit: Alison Markham

Photo Credit: Alison Markham

Photo Credit: Ben Thompson

Top Results

Boys 5000 Meter Run Gold Results
  Pl Athlete                   Yr Team                                          Time
   1 Daniel Skandera              Unattached                                15:05.30 
   2 Junior Allen                 Unattached                                15:15.00 
   3 Matteo Tonnos                Farragut TC                               15:16.90 
   4 Isaac Rivera                 Unattached                                15:17.50 
   5 Jaden Merrick                Unattached                                15:19.50 
   6 William Bauschke             Unattached                                15:22.10 
   7 Jeron Wisner                 Unattached                                15:22.60 
   8 Aiden Le Roux                Cheyenne Mountain                         15:23.30 
   9 Daniel Hruska                Bruins Racing Boys                        15:25.80 
  10 Joseph Jacquot               Unattached                                15:28.40 
  11 Braden Ebbert                Farragut TC                               15:29.80 
  12 Noah Manwaring               Unattached                                15:30.10 
  13 Joey Carroll                 Hebron                                    15:30.50 
  14 Jacob Sushinsky              Unattached                                15:30.70 
  15 Cade Sanvik                  Unattached                                15:31.10 
  16 Nathan Lee                   Unattached                                15:31.40 
  17 Corbin coombs                Unattached                                15:33.20 
  18 Gavin Rockwell               Trojan Running Club A                     15:33.40 
  19 Garrett Brown                Unattached                                15:33.90 
  20 Joey Rees                    Springville XC A                          15:34.70