Nearly halfway through the race, the Walter Johnson boys looked like they might be in trouble. Quince Orchard was racing tough…nearly man-for-man.
On the hot sunny fields of Tilden Middle School, runners began to fade in the second mile. WJ's Josh Ellis began to put distance on QO's Evan Laratta. QO's Evan Burnham bunched up with WJ's Scott Sheehan and Ben Crites while QO's Joey Sonken faded back. Burnham would eventually finish fourth overall in between Sheehan and Crites.
The James's, James Sauro and James Duncan, along with newcomer sophomore Franklin Floresca, decisively established themselves as the seventh, eighth, and ninth runners in the race as they worked their way up to Sonken. Sauro would overtake Sonken for sixth place while Duncan and Floresca sealed the team victory in 8th and 9th.
WJ boys improved to 1-0 with a final score of 23 to 35.
Ellis ran away with the win in 16:55, 25 seconds ahead of Laratta. It was a new course record. Of course, it was only the first time the course was ever used.
WJ's longtime home course has been at Cabin John Park, but coaches described the terrain as completely un-runable due to erosion of the trails. This is not surprising given the number of consecutive days of pouring rain we had last week.
The new course, which was built and measured to be a 5k this week, utilized Cedarwood Park and Tilden Middle School. It looked like it would be a fast course with several long open stretches on soccer fields, but most of the runners described the course as deceptively difficult due to twists, turns, and a number of short and steep hills.
The Quince Orchard girls defeated Walter Johnson handily with only freshman Melanie Cirillo breaking up QO's top six. Isabelle Latour won the race in 21:50, a new course record.