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Oct. 23, 2006

Blazers run well in county championships

by Johanna Gretschel, Online Managing Editor
The Blair girls' cross-country team placed 8th out of 20 teams, and the boys placed 14th out of 24 teams at the Montgomery County Championship this morning.

Two top ten finishes by senior twins Halsey and Ashlyn Sinclair, who placed 3rd in 18:39 and 7th in 19:17 on the five-kilometer course, gave the Lady Blazers a helpful boost in the team results. Senior co-captain Emanuel Waktola was the first male Blazer to cross the finish line, capturing 34th place in 17:23.

Every team will compete in a regional meet in November, but the county meet provides a good example of which teams will likely move on to the state meet. Blair will compete in the 4A regional meet, and in order to qualify for the state meet, the team must place in the top half of all teams (in the girls' case, top six out of twelve teams).

A runner can qualify for states individually by finishing in the top 25% of all runners in the race. While the boys' prospects of advancing seem a little shaky, the girls' team has a fighting chance. The Lady Blazers will need to beat Magruder, who they already beat in a dual meet 29-28 but lost to at counties 184-205, in order to advance to the state meet.

Coach Carl Lewin has faith that the girls can qualify for the state meet. "The girls are looking strong. The girls have an extremely good chance of qualifying for states if all five of our top girls have excellent races at regionals," he says.

Senior co-captain Ashlyn Sinclair agrees that the girls' chances in advancing to the state meet are strong. "I think it's very possible if our 5th runner steps it up a little bit," she says.

Although there is more focus on advancing the girls' team to states, Lewin still acknowledges the boys' success at the county meet today. "The guys finished fourteenth out of twenty-four and as individuals ran some of their best times of the year," he says.

Last week, the girls' cross-country team placed eighth out of fifteen teams, and the boys' team placed 11th out of sixteen teams at the Meade Autumn Classic, an invitational meet.

The girls were paced by top-five finishes from senior twins Halsey and Ashlyn Sinclair. Halsey placed second in 17:53.46, beating the old course record of 18:28.90, while Ashlyn placed fifth in 18:40.18. Senior co-captain Emanuel Waktola led the boys with a time of 17:03.65, placing 21st. Two more boys, seniors Tuynh Nguyen and Paul Ishimoto, broke 18 minutes by coming in 54th with 17:47.05 and 61st with 17:56.74, respectfully. Almost every Blazer improved personal records on the 3-mile course.

The Blazers' next meet is the regional meet on Nov. 2 at Watkins Mill High School.



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