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Battle Preview
By: Dave Watt
dave@americanrunning.org
2008-11-15


Rain expected.... will add to fun XC racing at SMOKEY GLEN FARM

Bethesda, MD— BATTLE XC 3 staff completed course preparations for tomorrow's 3rd running of the BATTLE OF THE POTOMAC. Rain is forecast, yet the Smokey Glen Farm venue is the ideal site: rolling hills, varied terrain and now an added element to the course: a stream crossing. "While remeasuring the course today, we realized we had a natural stream crossing that was just not as visible before the leaves came down", commented Race host and director Dave Watt.

Despite the rainy forecast, the BATTLE XC 3 staff is prepared for warm post-race environs: hot fire roasted chicken, hot apple cider and a covered pavilion to help competitors dry off after some classic cross country conditions. "All races will be run tomorrow. The course and venue are ideal for the expected rainy conditions", added Watt.

FIrst race is at 1 pm: MIDDLE SCHOOL BOYS. The MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS will go 3 minutes later on the single loop course.
OPEN BOYS has been moved up 15 min to a 1:30 pm start. Next up....OPEN GIRLS go at 2 pm.

Then comes the BATTLE: MD vs VA. The SEEDED BOYS will go first. The final race at 3 pm is the SEEDED GIRLS.

TEAM VA Girls is set to defend it's upset win of 2007. Although TEAM VA does not have the on-paper pedigree of state champions or runners-up that make up TEAM MD, VA girls proved that their depth was sufficient to win the Potomac Cup in 2007. The team rosters are similar in 2008. Kaitlyn Davis earned her 2nd All-State honors in a second state after being All-State in North Carolina last season. She will be joined by another VA newcomer in Erica Howes of WT Woodson. Erica was the surprise 3rd place finisher in VA's AAA State Meet. Howes transfered to VA from XC powerhouse Saratoga Springs NY. Battle XC veterans from West Potomac may help defend the Cup. "Comeback Runner of the Year in VA" Julianne Bigler fresh off her excellent 10th place All-State finish in VA AAA is joined by her teammate Kelsey Rosenberg. Other top girls are Patriot District All-Stars whose toughness was evident last year in VA's win. TEAM MD is led by the girl with the most impressive post-season on either squad: Anna Bosse of Walter Johnson HS. Anna was 5th in the Montgomery County Championship and had never won a major XC race. She won the 4A west regional in an upset and then not only won the MD 4A Championship but she posted the fastest time of the State Meet at Hereford. Her teammates include the MD 4A 3rd place finisher, Britt Eckerstrom; State 2A Champion Maura Linde and All-State runners Jen Cleary, and Kirsten McGovern.

Maryland's top boys appear to have the edge again in 2008. Led by Zach Sullivan, there will ample interest to see who is first to cross the finish for TEAM MD: MD 2A State Champion Craig Morgan could be right up front with Zach Sullivan. Close on their heels will be his River Hill teammate Sean Kirby along with DeMatha's Cory Puffet and Northern HS' Andrew Cerrito and along with one of MD's 4A surprise All-State runners in Rutvij Pandya of Blair HS. TEAM VA BOYS are led by Battle XC veteran medalist Josh Hardin. Josh has convinced his varsity teammates from Potomac Falls HS fresh off their podium finish in VA AA. Alongside Josh will be Le Degfae of Edison HS. Le finished his senior year by winning the VA AAA Northern Region Championship and finishing 3rd in the always tough AAA State meet. Le Degfae became the first Edison boy to win the Northern Region since the the 1974 win by now-coach George Watts (Tennessee). Le's identical twin Ti will try and stay close to the leaders along with Jack Strabo of Landon School.

The key to racing Smokey Glen's double loop course is to attack the downhills and conserve your energy's on the first climb up the farm's signature double hill. It's the second loop that the final hill climb is where you want to have the lead.

Top runners registered for TEAM VA include:

* Le Degfae of Edison HS - 2008 Northern Region Boys Champion; top 5 contender at VA AAA State Meet
* Josh Hardin of Potomac Falls HS - All-State AA
* Kaitlyn Davis - Northwest AAA Champion; All-State in AAA (Mountain View HS)
* Jack Strabo of Landon HS (resident of Arlington VA) - 2008 IAC Boys Champion; top contender in MD State Private School Championships
* Matt Hoerner, All-State VA AA from Spotswood HS
* Ti Degfae, All-State VA AAA (twin brother to Le of Edison HS)
* Erica Howes - VA AAA All-State (3rd place), All-Northern Region (WT Woodson HS)

Top runners registered for TEAM MD include:

* Zach Sullivan - MD - DC Private School State Champion; winner of West Coast NXN Pre-Nats race
* Craig Morgan - MD 2A Champion (River Hill)
* Sean Kirby - MD 2A runner-up (River Hill)
* Anna Bosse - MD 4A State Champion (fastest girls' time at Hereford in 2008)
* Britt Eckerstrom - All-State 4A (3rd place) and Montgomery County Champion
* Rutvij Pandya - 4th place - MD 4A All-State runner from Blair HS
* Cory Puffett of DeMatha HS – 2008 Boys Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Champion
* Andrew Cerrito - All-State 3A runner (Northern HS)

Race details and rules: Champion Chip timing for all runners. The course is a double loop 5K. There is one significant hill and the terrain is mostly cut grass. Runners may wear spikes. All registered runners must wear the VA or MD Battle of the Potomac t-shirt or singlet. USA Track & Field rules are in effect.

* WHERE: Smokey Glen Farm, Gaithersburg Maryland (off I-270)
* Schedule: Races start at 1 pm; Awards and dinner at 3:30; Event concludes at 5:15 pm.
The Battle of the Potomac XC Championships is produced by the Bethesda, MD - based American Running Association (ARA). All event proceeds help produce this meet and ARA's free youth walk-run training programs. ARA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1968 to promote healthy living and active lifestyles among all Americans. It is dedicated to supporting runners through education and specialized programs, as well as encouraging all individuals from youths to adults to run and be fit. For more information about the ARA or to learn more about the Walk and Run programs, visit American Running Assn.






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