Runners and spectators had to wait all day in the hot sun to see the 2:30 pm Seeded girls race at the Glory Days Grill Invitational. In year's past, Potomac School's Anneka Wilson may have been fazed by the heat, but on this day, she continued to show why this year is a whole new ball game. She aggressively joined the leaders early on, assumed the lead near the first mile mark, and then pounded home for another major victory in a time of 18:22.
While Wilson continues to dazzle fans this season, Wootton's Jessie Rubin notched a small victory of her own, coming out on top of all Maryland competitors including the defending state champion Teshika Rivers.
This isn't necessarily the season that Wootton head coach Kellie Redmond had in mind for her team. She purposefully scheduled her team to only run two invitationals in September, but the postponement of the Bull Run Invitational allowed Wootton's star runner Jessie Rubin to only face county level competition up until this point in the season. The light amount of racing seems to have built up something inside of her that was dieing to get out.
It had been so long since she faced an elite field that she was not totally confident that she would remember how to handle it. In fact, in only her second year of running cross country, this was likely the most elite field she had ever faced, but the race started so quickly that there was little time to think about it. She came through the first mile in roughly 5:50, well ahead of her PR pace. Still fifteen or more runners from the front of the race, she did not panic at the fast pace or her position. As a spectator of this race last year, she knew that this course produced fast times. She was confident she could maintain a steady pace.
She would neither fade, nor surge for the remainder of the race. She continued onward at a pace right around six minutes per mile, not worrying about the other runners as she moved by them. The end result was a fourth place finish in a county best time of 18:45, defeating defending state champion from Eleanor Roosevelt Teshika Rivers by three seconds.
Rubin says that she was focused on this race and has not thought about the upcoming championship meets yet, although she notes that her performance today might add some pressure on her.
Redmond would call that an understatment. She jokes that Jessie won't be allowed to look at mocorunning.com this week to keep the pressure at bay, but also notes that she has shown signs that she is in tremendous shape the last few weeks in practice.
Gaithersburg's Abby Spitler, who was previously unbeaten against Maryland competition, had an off race, saying afterwards that she didn't feel well. Whether it was a bug or the heat, her 29th place 19:49 performance was not charactersitic of everything she has done this season.
The Northwest girls remain unbeaten against Montgomery County competition with their tenth place performance. The team was led by Alyssa Henshaw, and for those keeping track, it was the fourth time this season that she has led the team. Don't be shocked if it happens again this season. They did, however, come up short of beating Maryland 4A team Eleanor Roosevelt, who finished in fourth place, nearly one hundred points ahead of Northwest.
| Ben Veilleux of Clarke County High School had a dominating performance in the boys seeded race, earning the upset victory over Leoule Degfae of Edison with a time of 15:22. It took a while for the first moco runners to cross the line, but when they did, it was Magruder teammates Nicolas Escobar and Chris Gregorski well out infront of county opponents such as Chris Miller and Bobby Sonken from Northwest and Antonio Palmer and Vikas Bhatia from Gaithersburg. Escobar set a 12 second PR with his 16:08 12th place finish. The Northwest boys were the top placing Montgomery County team at 9th place with a 41 second spread.|
In the Varsity B Boys Race, QO and B-CC fielded their best possible teams, although both teams were missing key runners. B-CC's Matt Davey-Karlson took the lead from the beginning and led for nearly the entire race. In the meantime, QO's Wayne Bartholomew ran with his teammates Conor Spaulding and Thomas McNamara for much of the race before working his way up to the front in the final mile. Bartholomew says that he was almost out of gas, but had a little bit left and made sure he used it all. He surged to the front in the final half mile, but according to Davey-Karlson who had the lead, Bartholomew didn't just take the lead, he was ten meters ahead before he knew it. He increased the lead over the relatively flat finish for the win in 16:35. Davey-Karlson was second in 16:40. B-CC finished fifth while QO finished seventh.
Katie Koenig of Good Counsel had one of the best races of the day, finishing third in the varsity B race in a time of 19:37. Addie Tousley of B-CC was 8th in 20:00.
Top performances by Montgomery County athletes in the freshman race came from Michael Fitzgerald of Good Counsel who finished sixth in 17:51, and the Northwest duo of Emily Balcombe and India Knight who finished in 10th and 11th in 21:00 and 21:16 respectively. The Good Counsel freshman boys team finished second as a team without their star freshman Jack Reily.