Blair cross country runner places fourth at state meet
HEREFORD HIGH SCHOOL, Nov. 8 -
Maryland has a reason to finally acknowledge Blair's cross country team. Senior co-captain Rutvij Pandya ran the race of his life and placed fourth in the Maryland Class 4A Championships. His time of 16:56 was also good enough to tie for eighth in all classes – 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A.
"It's ridiculous," said Pandya, who was the only member of Blair's cross country team to qualify for the state meet. "It hasn't really sunk in yet - I still don't know how it happened." Coming into the race, Pandya was only hoping to crack into the top 20. To his surprise, he was able to crack the top five and be recognized by cross country runners across the state.
After the first mile, Pandya hit "the dip", the course's infamous huge hill. But Pandya powered through and kept with the pack. "I felt like I was going to die at the top of the dip," Pandya said. Coming out of the dip, the course turned into a wooded area. This section was "mentally the hardest" for Pandya, but he was able to stay with the group through it.
As the third mile came around, Pandya began to pick off other runners. "They all just started to fade," Pandya said. "And I kept going strong. I was able to pick off a lot of guys in the third mile, I think it was definitely my strongest mile."
The course took another trip down "the dip" which proved beneficial to Pandya. Entering "the dip", Pandya was in 10th place. But he was able to open up his stride down the hill to pass other runners and power up the other side to put him at 5th place with only around 200 meters to go. Pandya kicked hard and was able to pass another runner and slip into 4th place. He nearly ran down third place runner senior Antonio Palmer of Gaithersburg, but was outkicked in the last stretch.
Sherwood senior Solomon Haile won the state championship in a record 15:43, 40 seconds ahead of second place runner junior Andrew Palmer of Whitman who finished in 16:23. Antonio Palmer finished in 16:54, just two seconds ahead of Pandya.
Pandya hopes next to compete in the Battle of the Potomac race on Nov. 15 at Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg.
Editor's note: Rutvij Pandya is the managing features editor for Silver Chips Print.
Anshul Sood. Anshul is a very laid-back person, a real take-it-easy kind of guy. He often burns time listening to music, playing music, watching some sports game, or playing some sport. Recently, he has entered into the world of running, though he is not very good. However, … More »