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Oct. 9, 2008

Cross country claims division championship

by Rose Wynn, Online Sports Editor
CLARKSBURG HIGH SCHOOL, Oct. 6

Blazer runners crushed the previously undefeated Clarksburg Coyotes at the final meet of the cross country season yesterday, taking the title of Division III champions. Junior Roxanne Oroxom took second place for the girls, followed closely by senior captain Elaine Chung who stole third. Senior Rutvij Pandya finished first for the boys, breaking the Clarksburg course record with a time of 16 minutes and 38 seconds, and senior Greg Vogel dashed to second place.

Coaches Eric Prange and James Demma were elated about the team's performance during the season. "We had a few injuries that slowed us down, but everyone improved and everyone enjoyed the team," Demma said. "Those were our goals."

Because of their notable performance, Demma believes it is important that the team recognizes their victory. "We're definitely going to celebrate this win," Demma said. Prange agreed that the victory was important, but emphasized that the team is only halfway there. "We're really excited about being undefeated, but our goal is still to run the best at counties," he said.

This race served as a precursor for the county-wide competition, which is approaching within the next couple of weeks. Blair's goal for the race is to rank within the top ten teams, according to Chung. She believes that Blair's performance against Clarksburg already displayed significant progress towards this objective. "We had five girls with times under 22 minutes," Chung said. "Those are the kind of times we need for counties." Regardless, Vogel knows it will take further training and practice. "This race made us pretty optimistic, but we still know we have a long way to go," he said.

At Clarksburg, Pandya and Vogel were initially challenged by a lead Coyote runner, who determinedly kept their pace until the end of the first mile. At that point, Pandya surged past him while Vogel raced persistently behind. "I knew what I had to do," Vogel said. "I stayed with the [Clarksburg runner] and after two and a half miles I made my move and passed him." Rutvij and Vogel raced along the final stretch of field, with Vogel only eight seconds behind Pandya when he crossed the finish line.

The two have stolen first and second in every meet this season, and Prange is constantly impressed by their performance. "Rutvij and Greg continue to improve," he said.

Two Clarksburg racers threatened the Blazers' lead at the beginning of the girls' race, keeping their edge through the first mile. "Clarksburg went out really fast," Chung said. "They didn't hold back and it was really a challenge. I usually go out slow and pass [my opponents] in the end, but their running strategy forced us to run faster." Oroxom did just that, remaining on their tails while Chung, sophomore Theresa Regan and freshman Myla Sapp kept close on her heels at the first mile mark, providing support for their teammate. As the race continued, Chung gained an edge on one of her opponents, eventually pushing past her to take third place at the finish. "I was really proud of the way I ran," she said.

All Blazers were excited about their performance, as Clarksburg's competitive team offered a welcome challenge for Blair runners. Vogel identified the meet as the hardest yet. "They put up a pretty good show," he said. "We won by a slim margin." The two leading Clarksburg girls forced lady Blazers to race harder and push themselves further. "We knew it would be a test," Prange said. "But Roxanne and Elaine stepped up and ran tough." Chung agreed that the Coyote runners presented a refreshing challenge. "We didn't have that kind of competition for our other meets," she said.

The defeat of Clarksburg established Blair as the Division III champion for the season, and this year is the first in which both boys and girls went undefeated. "I'm really excited," Oroxom said. "We worked really hard for this." Other runners were upbeat as well, due to the fact that almost every Blair runner created a personal record in the meet.

Blair cross country competes at the county competition on Saturday, Oct. 18.



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  • John McCain on October 10, 2008 at 1:20 AM
    I would like to congratulate cross country for their victory. Their work all season has made America proud.
  • Barack Obama on October 10, 2008 at 8:26 AM
    I would like to say congratulations, and as I said before, as long as you believe in yourself you can accomplish whatever you want.

    Yes, we can.

    Yes, we can win the finals, and we did.

    Congratulations and continue to run for your personal self, family, and America.
  • Ralph Nader (View Email) on October 10, 2008 at 2:35 PM
    cross country is the epitome of an environmentally conscious team...they run with almost no clothing, which saves trees and helps us to connect with our natural selves.

    They get my vote, which equals 1, which equals the number of votes i will get during this election.

  • XC runner on October 10, 2008 at 10:25 PM
    We run with barely any clothing, we don't like running on pavement, and we pee in the woods. Yes, obviously this is a green sport.
  • Blair XC Runner on October 11, 2008 at 4:22 PM
    YEAH BLAIR XC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 08 graduate on October 11, 2008 at 7:25 PM
    I'd like to remind everyone that the class of '08 is clearly the best of them all.
  • Jamie Raskin on October 12, 2008 at 5:43 PM
    I as well would like to congratulate cross country for their amazing season as well as say that 08 IS SMELLY
  • Drew on October 16, 2008 at 1:52 AM
    Congratulations from a former Blazer XC runner. I know that it takes a lot of hard work and tenacity to excel at the sport, and I'm glad to see that you're pushing each other as a team. Keep it up and I hope you make a good showing at counties.
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