In the MoCoRunning.com forums this week, user l33tweasley prophesized that at the Paul Short Invitational, "rain will play a factor this weekend." He could not have been more correct. From Thursday into Friday morning, tropical storm Nicole battered the Lehigh University cross country course with torrential downpours. Combine the flooding conditions (a house floating down a flooded creek was spotted by the author) with over 3,000 athletes competing on the course before MoCo got a crack at it, and you've got some textbook cross country conditions.
Even though the afternoon sun dried up the course slightly, teams from Walter Johnson, B-CC, Quince Orchard, and Einstein expecting a track with grass were in for a rude awakening. But for the Walter Johnson boys, this change in terrain could not have been accepted with more welcoming arms.
Coach Tom Martin described last year's boy's team as a "constantly-broken wagon." From race to race, one "broken wheel" would be fixed just in time for another one to fall off. With the Bull Run invitational last weekend, it seemed as though not much had changed from last year; Nick Regan's 3rd place finish was marred by a disappointing 11th from Alex Willett and Josh Ellis dropping out of the race. This week however, led by Alex Willett (7th overall, 16:01), Nick Regan (9th, 16:11), and Josh Ellis (14th, 16:20), Walter Johnson toppled ESPN-Rise Northeast #6 ranked team Don Bosco Prep by nearly 50 points. Scott Sheehan (33rd, 16:52) and Robert Brown (64th, 17:11) rounded out the top five for the Wildcats in the Brown Race.
As Alex Willett seems to return to life and Walter Johnson packs things together for the first time, their performance raises a few questions: first, can anybody in the county, region, or state come close to Walter Johnson on a good day? And secondly, can WJ make noise on a regional or national scene this year? Finally, is it possible that the Wildcats have three individual state-title contenders? Only time will tell. This author hopes that WJ is considering making another trip down to the NXN Southeast regional meet in November.
Also impressing the author, the Quince Orchard boys placed 12th, led by Conor Spaulding (13th, 16:20). Drew Lehner (23rd, 16:32) continues to impress, coming in second for the Cougars followed shortly by Evan Laratta (28th, 16:42).
Andrew Ceruzzi (39th, 16:55) led Einstein while Trevor Stephens (59th, 17:08) and Eliot Gerson (62nd, 17:09) led B-CC.
The B-CC girls showed similar dominance to the Walter Johnson boys in the white race, scoring less than half as much as the Walter Johnson and Quince Orchard girls. Leading the Barons, Ava Farrell (8th, 19:44) showed that she is ready to run with the big dogs, hanging on for dear life from the gun with WJ stars Camille Bouvet (3rd, 19:10) and Anna Bosse (5th, 19:18). Camille, much like Alex on the boy's side, showed that she is done pussyfooting around and should still be considered a very capable contender for the county, region, and state title. Coming off of a victory at Bull Run, Anna was not completely thrilled with her race, but 19:18 on a slightly-off day is still a time with a whole lot of merit.
Much like last week, a large gap from second to third runner harmed the Wildcats as a team. The QO girls showed that they are, in fact, capable of running as a pack, with a 70 second spread from first (Catherine Pansenkov, 20th, 20:31) to fourth runner. If QO can get a number five to close the gap, then they could really make some noise on the county, region, and state level.
On a different note, many former MoCo runners competing at the collegiate level ran in the morning races. From personal experience, I can safely say that the college runners got to have a lot more fun in the mud. Below are a collection of times from alumni I could spot in the results, I apologize if I missed anyone! Feel free to post their result in the comments section.
2017 39 David Laratta, Jr 4:59 26:23 La Salle University
1996 105 Wayne Bartholomew, So 5:10 27:06 La Salle University
3025 137 Jatin Narang, Fr 5:21 27:20 Ursinus College
1912 153 Elias Tousley, Sr 5:36 27:28 Haverford College
5892 340 Nick Stavely, 5 5:32 31:10
1917 39 39 Neal Darmody, Jr 4:59 24:45 4:59 High Point University
2872 126 123 Sam Boimov, Jr 5:01 25:21 5:06 U M B C
1536 149 146 Chris Moen, Jr 25:28 5:08 Appalachian State
2873 219 206 Chris Bowie, Sr 5:02 26:00 5:14 U M B C
2878 220 207 Nic Escobar, Fr 4:59 26:00 5:14 U M B C
2870 239 223 Sean Oleary, Fr 5:06 26:06 5:16 University of Marylan
1598 276 248 Chris Boyd, Sr 4:55 26:21 5:19 Bucknell University
1935 123 114 Josh Joson, Jr 5:13 27:04 5:27 Indiana University of
3049 191 176 Roni Teich, So 5:14 27:38 5:34 Vassar College
2591 171 157 Ian Morgan, Fr 5:32 29:51 6:01 St. Mary
1250 35 Maryam Fikri, Fr* 6:08 23:24 University of Marylan
1261 103 Lauren Sumner, Fr* 6:13 24:48 University of Marylan
941 117 Darcy O'Connor, Fr* 6:20 25:08 Saint Josephs Univers
1260 123 Halsey Sinclair, Jr* 6:14 25:14 University of Marylan
1372 10 10 Morgane Gay, Jr* 5:24 20:31 5:31 University of Virgini
1390 221 202 Veroncia Salcido, Jr* 5:56 23:10 6:14 University Pennsylvan
1259 261 230 Ashlyn Sinclair, Sr* 5:46 23:30 6:19 University of Marylan
160 280 240 Eckerstrom Emma, Jr* 6:06 23:43 6:22 Colgate University
346 300 250 Monica Delizo* 6:04 23:58 6:26 High Point University
707 320 262 Stephanie Joson, Fr* 6:16 24:16 6:31 Mount St. Mary's
159 153 Katie Koenig, Fr* 6:15 24:06 6:29 Indiana University of