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Landon Invitational Recap
By: Kevin Milsted

Mia-Irene Gyau of Bullis won her second invitational race of the season and the Holy Cross girls scored their first team victory of the season at the 2012 Landon Invitational. The Woodrow Wilson boys beat out Bishop Ireton while Hale Ross from the Potomac School got the individual win in 17:27.75.

Holy Cross has only improved since the Spiked Shoe Invitational three weeks ago where it took 3rd place overall ahead of any other Montgomery County team. On that day, their #5 runner was almost three full minutes behind #4. Today, that #5 runner dropped out of the race, and yet three rookies stepped into the #5, 6, and 7 spots on the team and set PR's between 23:20 and 23:30 (varsity teams were allowed to use up to 9 runners).

Leading the way for Holy Cross was Kiernan Keller who was the only runner in the race who tried to go after Bullis's Gyau. Gyau proved to be in a league of her own, increasing her lead from 12 seconds at the 1 mile mark, to 22 seconds after two miles, and ultimately 40 seconds for the full 5k despite making a wrong turn with a half mile to go. The wrong turn near the end cost Gyau at least ten seconds and caused her to finish in 19:42.92, nearly the exact same time in which she won the Mercersburg Invitational last week. Keller was rewarded for her hard effort with a second place finish and a new PR of 20:23.68.

Holy Cross's top four runners finished among the top eleven competitors in the race. Coach Greg Sweet partially attributes the team's improvement to "luck of the draw," referring to the two athletic freshmen, Julia Pitts and Anna Capizzi, who chose to attend Holy Cross.

It is more than that though, as Kiernan Keller and Katie Toner have improved by 30-90 seconds per race from where they were this time last year and the rookies have dropped up to three minutes from where they were at the beginning of this season. The girls are racing in small packs as a team, and for the first time since Coach Sweet began rebuilding the distance program from almost nothing twelve years ago, all the pieces are coming together at the same time.


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