After weeks of high heat and humidity, the cross country team caught a break on Saturday, October 5th, when temps in Douglasville, at the Alexander / Asics Invitational, stayed in the low 70s for the early morning races. The cooler temps, as well as a fairly flat course, made for many of the fastest times the team has seen this season, and a new girls' 5k school record was set.
The first race of the morning was the boys' championship race, with all 8 Bears running season best times, led by team captain Anders Law ('20) who finished in a personal best time of 16:06. This makes Anders the third fastest runner for the boys' team in school history. On his heels, and finishing in 16:09 as the fourth fastest Bear, was his brother and co-captain, Deacon Law ('20). Not too far behind, with a 16:21 personal record finish, Kaine Dudley ('21) raced to make the Top 10 record board, tying for 10th. Senior and co-captain Josh Gargan ran a personal best 16:24 with junior Colby Jones crossing right behind him in 16:25. Those five made up the team score, finishing 6th overall in one of the most competitive meets in the state so far this year. Helping push them to success, were runners 6-8. Cole Suplee ('21) ran a personal best time of 16:32, senior Adam Schaich ran a personal best time of 16:37, and senior and co-captain Yahya Merchant ran a personal record time of 16:39, besting his previous time by over a minute.
The second race of the morning, saw all 8 championship varsity girls finishing in season best times as well. Ashley Sechrest, a senior and co-captain who recently committed to run at Georgia Tech, led the team to finish in 8th place individually for a school record time of 18:22, beating her previous record by 7 seconds, and finishing nearly 20 seconds faster than she did on the same course last year. Freshman Anna Filipek finished in 17th place, with a time of 18:45, and earned a place on the Top 10 school record board as the 2nd fastest Lady Bear. Kathryn Suplee ('21) crossed in 19:40, Lola Merrill ('21) finished in 19:41, and Camila Montes ('22) came in at 19:44. They closed out the scoring with personal records that were 8th, 9th and 10th on the overall school record board, and by finishing in 31st, 33rd, and 35th in the race, helped the Lady Bears capture the 2nd place Girls Championship team trophy. Helping cement the win, were Isabel Filipek ('21), who finished in 19:55 with a season best time, Emily Meeker ('22) who ran a personal record time of 20:00, and senior Afton Hirschi, who ran a season best time of 20:42.
The next two races were the 5A-7A varsity races, in which the next 8 runners would compete. Leading this group of boys was Caelan Jones ('21), who finished in 7th place at 17 minutes flat to earn a medal and set a new personal record. Oscar Ng ('21) was the second bear to cross the finish, with a time of 17:37, and just a few seconds behind him was junior Boston Grant with a personal record time of 17:42. Senior Ethan Blalock and sophomore Braden Hobbs finished in 17:59 and 18:00 to set new personal bests, and secure 5th place out of 39 teams for the Bears. Ajay Singh, Justin Doering and Colin Shin also ran season best times as the sixth through eighth runners in this race. The girls' race was led by Katie Malone, who earned a medal and personal record for her 14th place individual finish in 21:00. Just a few seconds back, in 21:07, senior and co-captain Leah Capomaccio crossed in 19th place to set a new personal record as well. Scoring was completed by Sarah Anderson ('20), co-captain Lily Parzych ('20) with a new PR of 22:19, and sophomore Liv Bollenbacher who just barely edged out freshmen Allyx Berry in a photo finish in which both girls ran new personal best times both recorded as 22:33.8. Madeline Matthews ('22) and Faith Hirschi ('22) completed the roster for the girls' team in this race, with the team finishing 6th out of 29 teams.
In the JV races which followed, the boys took home first place honors, with a very low score of just 27 points, and finished in 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 13th place with their top five runners. Leading this effort, with a personal best time of 18:29 was Cooper Carrow ('20), who beat George Tindle ('22) at the finish line so narrowly, that George's time was also recorded at 18:29.4. In fifth place, Ashton Foraker's ( '22) time was 18:35, and Reese Uribe ('22) crossed the line in 18:39 for seventh place. Freshman Luis Fettes closed out the scoring, and earned a medal for his 13th place personal record time of 19:04. For the Lady Bears, senior and co-captain Annika Phelps crossed the finish line first in 26th place to lead the girls' to third place. Irene Palacios-Rodriguez ('23) was two seconds behind her in 27th, and Larkin Wynn ('23) finished one second later for 29th place. Disha Baglodi ('22) and Emma Flynn ('21) rounded out the scoring in this JV race.
The last two races of the day were the freshman/sophomore race, and then an open race for the remaining juniors and seniors. Coming in 2nd place, Dillon Shin ('23) led the younger boys with a personal record time of 19:07 to bring home a medal. Keagan Goodell ('21) earned a second place medal in the open race with his personal best time of 19:33, and Ian Kababik ('21) had a personal best time of 20:01 for third place Also earning a medal were Robert Townsend('21), Sam Marchlik ('20) and Sumil Shah ('20) for finishing in 7th, 11th and 14th. For the Lady Bears, Sarah Meredith ('22) ran a personal best time of 25:18 for an 11th place medal in the freshman/sophomore race, and Ashley Smith ('21) crossed the line in 12th place in the open 5k.
The next meet will be on Saturday, October 12 at the Disney Cross Country Classic, and then the team will be prepping for the region meet on Tuesday, October 22. The top six individuals and the top four teams from region will then go to Carrollton on November 1 for the 6A state championship.