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Oct. 13, 2010

Cross country conquers Gladiators

by Liv Jacobson, Online Entertainment Editor
WHEATON REGIONAL PARK, Oct. 12 -

The girls' (5-0) and boys' (3-2) cross country teams defeated the Northwood girls' (0-5) and boys' (2-3) teams in Blair's last dual meet of the season. Freshman Morgana D'Ottavi placed first in the girls' race, followed by junior Hannah Buchek for second place. Northwood runner Scott Sullivan led the boys' race but was trailed closely by Blair senior Dominic Florin.

Senior Dominic Florin (R) takes second place and leads the Blair boys at the team's last dual meet against Northwood. Lorena Kowalewski
Senior Dominic Florin (R) takes second place and leads the Blair boys at the team's last dual meet against Northwood.
The close boys' race featured a strong match-up between Florin and Sullivan; the two were neck-and-neck throughout the whole race. In the end, Sullivan defeated Florin by a six second margin. "It's disappointing that I lost by six seconds," Florin said. But despite finishing in second place, Florin finished around a minute faster than he typically does on the Wheaton Regional course. The boys' team as whole securely won their race, with only three Northwood runners placing in the top ten.

Likewise, the girls' team dominated their race; only two Northwood runners placed in the top ten. D'Ottavi ran almost two minutes ahead of her competitors and beat her own personal course record. Senior co-captain Theresa Regan noticed widespread progress in the girls' team. "All of our runners' times improved since the last time we ran this course," Regan said.

Blair's improved teamwork was an essential part of the meet. Regan noted that runners were learning to run in groups during the race in order to pace themselves with other members of the team. Senior captain Gabe Pollak also saw teammates helping each other out and forming packs during the boys' race.

Junior Hannah Buchek runs ahead of her competitors to place second during the girls' race. Lorena Kowalewski
Junior Hannah Buchek runs ahead of her competitors to place second during the girls' race.
Head coach James Demma was pleased with Blair's performance. "Everyone ran hard and we solidly beat Northwood," Demma said. He was pleased with the return of runners Calley Mayer-Marks and Jenny Sholar, who had not run in previous meets due to injury. Demma praised Pollak and junior Michael Anderson for running great races and significantly improving their course times.

Having won their last dual meet of the season, the cross country team will now turn their attention to the upcoming county and regional championships. Demma believed that this race was a good indicator for the team's performance at those races. "This meet starts to set the varsity team up for counties and regionals," he said.

Demma stated several goals for the team's postseason. He hopes to move up from Division III to Division II for next season, which will require the entire team to place 12th overall in the county. For the regional meet, the team's goal is to qualify for the state championship, which requires the team to place in the top seven. Demma and team members were confident in their postseason prospects this year. "We have a strong team this year, and I think we'll go to States," D'Ottavi said.

The cross country team will compete in the Montgomery County Cross Country Championships at Gaithersburg on Oct. 23.



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