Friday afternoon at the Eagle Invitation was a good place to be with the cancellation of the Great Meadows Invitational. The weather was slightly warm with a nice breeze, and the course was beautiful. Mostly being run through a shady path in the woods, the course was one giant loop with no repeats. With the exception of two hills, the course was relatively flat.
There was a wide variety of teams including Bowie, CH Flowers, Central, Damascus, Fairmont Heights, Frederick Douglas, Highpoint, Huntingtown, Oxon Hill, Reservoir, and Westlake. Youngblood with his Damascus team traveled a good hour and a half to get to the meet.
"We wanted to do something different and try to run against someone other than Montgomery County schools," said Coach Youngblood. "I have a young team with no seniors and I thought this would be a good first meet for them."
And a first good meet it was. Damascus won the varsity guys, varsity girls, JV guys, and JV girls races. The day started off with the varsity guys race and was then followed by the varsity girls and then the JV races.
At the start of the gun, the varsity guys quicky asserted themselves to the front of the pack with Cecil Jonas and Thomas Arias leading with a group of Damascus runners close behind. As they entered the woods, the Damascus pack held the top spots with a couple of runners mixed in. About half way through the race, Thomas Arias pulled away from the competition separating himself from the rest of the pack. With 500 meters to go, the two sets of brothers held the top six spots with Cecil Jonas in sixth. Thomas Arias won his first race ever in 17:34, almost half a minute in front of 2nd place Ben Constantinides with an 18:03, and Alex Arias finished 5th in 18:08, with Jon Constantinides close behind in 18:15. Cecil Jonas finished 8th with a 18:38, and Charlie Ramirez finished 11th in 19:04 with Tommy Creegan close behind finishing in 19:11. Damascus won with 22 points against Reservoir with 52 points.
Damascus girls also dominated the competition by winning with over 40 points. Before entering the woods the Damascus girls pack held the top 5 spots with Gloria Roberts from Frederick Douglas in 2nd. Janna Domico won the race in 20:56, with teammates Taylor Colbert, Emily McIlvried, Megan Patton, and Alex Carroll finishing strong and taking 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th in the girls varsity race. Damascus girls had a strong pack from start to finish. They had their top 4 take the lead within the first mile and had 6 of their girls finish within one minute of each teammate.
A young inspiration comes from the freshman winner of the girls JV race, Karly Najaka of Damascus. She won with a time of 23:49 which would have put her in 15th place in the varsity race. She is new to cross country and brings hope for a bright future. Also, JV girls swept 1st through 9th place while JV guys swept 1st through 12th place.