The cross country team surpassed its expectations when both the girls' and boys' teams qualified for the State Championships by seizing fifth place in the 4A West regional meet on Nov 1, an accomplishment attributed to significant improvement of the teams' top third, fourth and fifth runners.
The team continued its impressive run at States on Nov 10 at Hereford High School, with strong individual and team placements.
The boys' team claimed seventh place and the girls placed tenth, a triumph given that Blair cross country has failed to even qualify for States as a team in over eight years.
Senior Eitan Halper-Stromberg, a first-year cross country member and the fastest runner of the boys' squad, earned an 11th place medal with a time of 17:33.02 on the 5k course. Captain Jossi Fritz-Mauer placed 18th while senior David Shope, who has supported the weight of the team despite an injury that interrupted his season, placed 43rd out of 138 runners.
For the girls, senior Hayley Wynn brought in a medal for 13th place. Junior Laurel Jefferson, who finished third last year and has consistently led the girls' team with competitive times, placed a disappointing 29th.
The teams' greatest victories came a week earlier in the Regional meet held at the Rockville Civic Center. Senior Claudine Page, sophomore Julie Chiplis and junior Nicole Ranes diminished the gap that existed throughout the season between the top two female runners, Wynn and Jefferson, and the next three consecutive runners. "Without their good performances, we wouldn't have placed so well. They did wonderful things for us," said coach Angelique Bosse.
Wynn said that Page, Chiplis and Ranes' lowered times were critical for their final placement. Wynn finished sixth out of 72 runners with a time of 20:07.28 minutes, while Jefferson placed eighth in 20:15.99. Page, Chiplis and Ranes finished 21st, 46th and 54th respectively.
The boys' team exhibited more depth than the girls during the regular season because of consistently strong showings by top three runners Halper-Stromberg, Fritz-Mauer and senior Ruben Galbraith. They finished comfortably in fifth place to qualify, despite Galbraith's inability to run due to injury. Shope, sophomore Esey Kidane and junior Gabe Morden-Snipper prevented any crippling effects.
The boys' and girls' records, at 3-3 and 2-4, respectively, present a mediocre testimony to the team's stellar season in a competitive division. The team moved up from division III last year.
The boys' and girls' teams will lose a combined six runners to graduation, but the enhanced performance of the remaining varsity runners in Regionals provides reassurance that they can carry Blair to another appearance at States next season.
Vivian Wang. Vivian Wang, a senior at Blair, is a first year Managing Sports editor for Silver Chips. She is in the Blair Math, Science, and Computer Science Magnet Program, yet has equal interests in the humanities and arts. In fact, she belonged to the Eastern Humanities … More »