Silver Chips Online

Cross country shows large improvement at County Championships

Boys' team places 12th, girls' team finishes ninth

By Anshul Sood, Online Sports Editor
October 21, 2008
GAITHERSBURG HIGH SCHOOL, Oct. 18 -

Coming off an undefeated season and a Division III championship, both the boys' and girls' cross country teams represented Blair well at the Montgomery County Championships on Saturday. The boys' team finished 12th in the county with an average time of 17:33 and the girls' team finished ninth with an average time of 21:20. Many of the runners showed large improvement from the beginning of the season and hope to show even more improvement at the regional meet on Thursday, Oct. 30. The finishes secured Blair a spot in Division II next season.

The boys' varsity team raced before the girls' team on a cool morning. Senior co-captain Rutvij Pandya led the team, followed closely by Vogel. The start of the race featured a quick funnel trying to fit around 170 runners into a narrow path, making getting ahead of the pack very crucial. Pandya was able to break through and run his fastest race of the season in a time of 16:26, putting him at 13th place in the race. Senior Greg Vogel was close behind with a time of 16:55. Though Vogel did not run his fastest race of the season, his time was good enough for 34th place in the county. Sherwood senior Solomon Haile won the race in a time of 15:11, shattering the previous course record.

Senior Peter Myers came in third for the Blazers with a time of 18:05 followed immediately by senior Amare Tola in 18:06, placing them at 95th and 96th respectively. Sophomore Jeremy Ardanuy came in 100th with a time of 18:11, followed by seniors Lucas Alvarado-Farrar at 109th in 18:23 and David Wasser at 124th in 19:01.

"Our guys did well, especially Rutvij," said coach Eric Prange. "But we need to step it up a little if we want to advance to states as a team." Coach Charlie Demma echoed the same sentiment. "I'm sure Rutvij does not want to go to states alone," Demma said, referring to Pandya being one of the two Blazers at the state meet last season. The top half of teams at the regional meet advance to the state meet.

On the girls' side, senior co-captain Elaine Chung was the first Blazer across in a time of 20:59, good for 40th place in the race. This was Chung's first time under 21 minutes. Junior Roxanne Oroxom was close behind in a time of 21:10 in 48th place. Sophomore Theresa Regan quickly followed in 52nd place, clocking in at 21:18. The three girls stuck together through most of the race with Chung out kicking the other two in the final stretches. Northwest sophomore Britt Eckerstrom won the girls' race with a time of 18:41.

The remainder of the girls finished hard, as freshman Myla Sapp came in 55th with a time of 21:24, followed by sophomores Masha Lafen in 67th in 21:51 and Jennifer Scholar in 82nd with a time of 22:50. Senior Abigail Cember crossed quickly behind in 84th with a time of 22:53.

Wen was impressed by the improvements all the runners have shown since their first meet in early September. "All of our runners showed impressive improvement from the beginning of the season," he said. "Hopefully everyone will continue to improve all the way to the state meet."

Prange congratulated the team on their success, but reminded them that the season was not over yet. "We still have work to do to get to states as a team. I think our runners need to try to stay together more," he said. "We took a step in the right direction on Saturday, but there's still a few more [steps] to be taken before regionals."

The regional cross country meet is on Thursday, Oct. 30 at Watkins Mill.

"Editor's note: Rutvij Pandya is the managing features editor on Silver Chips Print."

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8600