Good Counsel Pack Gets the Best of MCPS
Coach Tom Arnold has high expectations for his cross country team at Good Counsel, and he does not hesitate to tell his athletes when they run poorly. He might even take punitive action if he is really unhappy. After the boys team took a beating from WCAC opponent Gonzaga last weekend at the Peter Geraghty Invitational, Arnold pulled them out of the Woodward Relays and gave them a beating of his own.
He joked about the mileage and workouts that he assigned to his athletes this week.
"I'm surprised nobody called child protective services on me."
But the Good Counsel runners do not mind the "abuse." In fact, they embrace it because they know that it prepares them to do exactly what they were able to do on Saturday at the 1st Annual Magruder Invitational.
They ran as a pack for much of the race, sticking together in a way that the MCPS teams could not. Four deep they ran until the final mile when senior Sam Rainard pulled ahead, eventually placing eighth. Down the home stretch they thinned out, but still placed four in the top fifteen with a 24 second spread between them. Move over Jelani and Caleb, Good Counsel has four NEW horsemen riding through this town!
It was a result that Arnold was more satisfied with and a result that showed that Gonzaga won't be running away with the WCAC title just yet.
After missing his first two meets due to various reasons, Solomon Haile of Sherwood High School finally made his cross country debut in the United States. As expected, he took the lead early on, but he did not immediately distance himself from the field. He ran alongside his teammate Kyle Balderson for over a mile. The half way mark was when he decided to compete. He ran hard for the final mile and a half by himself, winning easily in 15:53.
Before the race, Haile told himself that anything under sixteen minutes would be pretty good. He got the win, he hit his time, and now he is excited to face tough competition at the Oatlands Invitational in Leesburg, Virginia next weekend.
Finishing Kick Keeps Spitler On Top
Every girl in the varsity race paced off of Northwest's Britt Eckerstrom for the first half of the race. As a result, a large pack was still together when Abby Spitler of Gaithersburg and Jessie Rubin of Wootton decided that it was time to go. The two steadily pulled away from the pack and admitted that they worked together over the back half of the course. Rubin tried not to let it come down to a kick, as Spitler is now gaining a reputation for her frenzied finishing kick. But try as she might, Spitler held tightly behind her and blew by her opponent in the final 15 meters. Spitler's winning time was 19:26.90. Rubin was second in 19:28.66.
Rubin and Spitler may meet again at the Gaithersburg vs. Wootton dual meet on Tuesday, but it is unlikely that Spitler races in a meet that her team has no chance of winning.
For the second consecutive week, Eckerstrom had a particularly lethargic race and could not move when Spitler did. She still managed a sixth place finish behind her fifth place teammate Alyssa Henshaw. The powerful 1-2 punch scored 11 points together, the same sum as the 1-2 punch from Churchill who finished fourth and seventh. Both teams were neck and neck right down to the wire, placing their top five in the top twenty five runners. Northwest won by two points, reaffirming the belief of county fans that they are the team to beat this year, but also proving that it could go either way between these two teams on any given day.