Georgetown Prep Classic Boys Recap
It was not a particularly strong outing for Zach Weinstein or David Fitzgerald, but having them in the race made the difference for Churchill at this year's Georgetown Prep Cross Country Classic. Weinstein, who has struggled with a hip injury all season, missed the Bull Run Invitational where fellow-Maryland teams Loyola Blakefield, Hereford, and Severna Park defeated Churchill. Fitzgerald missed Churchill's last dual meet and there was serious concern that he may have had a stress fracture in his foot. At less than 100%, Fitzgerald and Weinstein raced at Georgetown Prep and helped Churchill to a slim five point victory over Loyola-Blakefield.
Churchill's Will Conway appears to be in top form and established himself as the favorite for next week's Montgomery County Championship Meet. He had to fight Louis Colson of Thomas Edison through the finish line to what was essentially a photo finish in 17:00.5. Colson took fourth and Conway took fifth. Colson's team was incomplete so he did not score in the team standings.
After Conway, Churchill's Luke Shannon finished 21st, and Sushen Thiyagarajan did his job to close the gap by finishing 24th in 17:40.2. Weinstein finished uncharacteristically far back in the pack in 28th and Fitzgerald finished directly in front of a Loyola Blakefield runner in 47th. Churchill had 111 points in a race of 155 scored runners.
The Churchill coaches were interviewed during the Pacers New Balance pre-meet broadcast and explained that they were fortunate to have strong competition within Montgomery County and to be able to travel to compete against distant competition. They also noted that the Georgetown Prep Classic is a meet that they always enjoy returning to year after year.
This was the second consecutive year the Bulldogs won the Georgetown Prep Classic, and by defeating Wootton and Walter Johnson for the second time this year, Churchill has established itself as the unquestioned favorite to win next week's Montgomery County Championship. By defeating Hereford and Loyola, Churchill has sent notice to Severna Park that the 4A state championship meet will be a hard-fought battle.
A few things worth noting:
Nick Adams from Whitman was the second fastest runner from Montgomery County, finishing 10 seconds behind Conway in 17:10.5. Adams has not had many opportunities to race Montgomery County's best until now, and it is reflected in the most recent Mocorunning individual rankings as Adams jumped from 20th to 7th on the list (5th public school runner).
The Wootton boys took fourth place over fifth place Walter Johnson. It is clear that several runners from Walter Johnson had poor races, but also worth noting that Wootton had a strong outing led by a breakout performance from James Ertel. Ertel was the third fastest Montgomery County runner in the seeded race, finishing 11th in 17:22.3
Georgetown Prep's Joey Chapin won the unseeded race by four seconds in 17:12.7. Conway and Adams were faster in the seeded race, but a win is a win. The debate about Joey Chapin being MoCo's top distance runner continues, although Jack Riely from Good Counsel once again proved this weekend that he deserves the #1 ranking by winning a race in Lorton, Virginia.
Sherwood won the boys unseeded race 130 to 134 over Richard Montgomery.
Whitman's Evan Woods led for the majority of the boys freshman race and charged down the final stretch to win the race by over two minutes in 16:36. In an unfortunate series of events, he was rushed onto the stage to do an interview with the Pacers New Balance radio crew while the meet director was determining if Woods had cut the course. Minutes after the interview, Woods was disqualified for cutting the course (unintentionally) and the victory was awarded to his teammate, Alex Roederer. Roederer was given a radio interview and said that he was sad for his teammate who should have won the race. Woods had run under 18:00 on several 5k courses this year and most likely would have won the race if he stayed on course. Even now as the official results show Roederer as the winner, I'm told that Wootton's Patrick Munro was reinstated as the winner of the race after initially being disqualified along with Woods.
Reinforcing the fact that Woods cut the course short, Annandale's Amed Bile won the next race in 16:35.9 (essentially the same time as Woods ran). Bile is a favorite to qualify for the Footlocker National Championships later this fall. An interesting fact is that the last two male winners at Georgetown Prep, Cory Puffett and John McGowan, both qualified for Footlocker Nationals. Bile could be the third Georgetown Prep winner in three years to go on to nationals.
Thomas Johnson's Hassan Omar set the pace early in the race, but by the halfway mark, Bile had taken over and won the race by over twenty seconds. Omar got into a fierce kick with Loyola's Kevin Corbusier. It was déjà vu from the Peter Geraghty Invitational earlier in the season when Corbusier outkicked Omar. Omar hung on for second place over Corbusier by one-tenth of a second.
Georgetown Prep Classic Girls Recap
In what was touted as a type of "border war" between the girls of West Potomac (Fairfax County) and Whitman (Montgomery County), West Potomac ran away with an easy victory with 71 points. The race was practically decided as the runners lined up for pre-race strides. Whitman's #3 and #4 runners, Nicole Ihrie and Alexandra Phillips, were not in the lineup. West Potomac is too strong to be taken down by any team that is short-handed.
The story of the meet became the pack of individuals battling up front. Sarah Dillistin from Potomac Falls High School won a race just across town at the Landon Invitational a few weeks ago and pulled out a tight pack from the gun here at Georgetown Prep this weekend. Through two miles and up a large hill, Dillistin still led the pack, but the second time up that large hill can be draining. Cresting that hill for the second time is typically where the race breaks open.
Over the third mile, the pack thinned out and Sarah Jane Underwood of West Potomac pulled away to win by 11 seconds in 19:44. It was a solid victory for Underwood who was 2nd at William & Mary and 4th at Glory Days but had no major victories this season until now.
Churchill freshman Lucy Srour ran away from Whitman's Caroline Guiot down the final stretch to take second place in 19:55, establishing herself as the heavy favorite for next weekend's Montgomery County Championship Meet. Srour has won five out of seven races this year and remains undefeated against all Montgomery County runners.
Following the race, Srour was put on stage with Underwood to do a radio interview. It was the well-established senior next to the up-and-coming freshman. Srour was asked if people knew about her, to which she answered that she didn't know if people knew about her but that she was trying to do her best.
Diehard Mocorunning fans have known about her since her eye-popping debut at the Oatlands Invitational.
She was also asked if she would try to qualify for Footlocker Nationals and she confused the Footlocker qualifier in New York with the Nike qualifier in North Carolina, but perhaps it wasn't a fair question to ask of the freshman who has not even experienced a county championship yet.
West Potomac won the race with 71 points over second place Hereford. I maintain that it would have been a very close race for first place if Whitman was full strength, but Whitman faded to seventh place overall.
Wootton was a bit of a surprise in finishing third overall. They beat out Arlington County Champion and perennial WCAC powerhouse Bishop O'Connell and also beat Archbishop Spalding who defeated Wootton three weeks earlier at the Bull Run Invitational.
Physically, Wootton is getting stronger. Grace Corbett, Emily Levenson, and Kirsten Schroeder were three of the biggest climbers of the week on Mocorunning's individual rankings, indicating that they are getting healthy and getting fit at the right time. Madeline Rico led the team with a 24th place finish and Corbett was immediately behind Rico in 25th.
By beating Whitman at Georgetown Prep, is Wootton a threat to win the county title next week, or even bump off the B-CC girls who were much stronger at the Bull Run Invitational?
Coach Kellie Redmond knows Whitman was missing some key runners, but is encouraged by the Wootton's improvement over the last two weeks of not racing. She says that in addition to the fitness level, the intangibles that bring a team together have improved greatly since their last race.
It is the opinion of this author that Whitman controls its own destiny. The Whitman team that we saw at Georgetown Prep and in the last two dual meets is not the same Whitman that won the Oatlands Invitational and put five girls under 20:00 at the Paul Short Invitational. Whitman can pull together and tighten up the pack and they will dominate like they should, but Whitman appears to be moving in the wrong direction at the wrong time. Wootton and B-CC will be there ready to compete next weekend, and of course Severna Park will be waiting at the end of the road.
Thank you to Pacers and New Balance for a great meet!
Pacers put on a great production at this year's Georgetown Prep Classic. Professional broadcaster Johnny "Cakes" Auville from the Sports Junkies teamed up with his radio producer Drab T-Shirt and Chris Farley from Pacers Running Stores to provide a fantastic "Gameday" experience for all in attendance. Downloadable podcasts will be available soon for everybody to hear the day's interviews and analysis.
There was also karaoke and a dance contest. I missed the dance contest myself, but I heard the girls from Urbana were "dirty, dirty."
The more that athletes, coaches, and parents support these types of events, the more bells and whistles Pacers and New Balance will be able to provide in the future.
Pacers and New Balance will also be at the Montgomery County Championship Meet and the 4A West Regional Championship Meet. There will not be a radio production and I'm not sure about a dance contest, but there will be a DJ/MC to pump up the atmosphere and plenty of New Balance gear on sale.