Gaithersburg and Damascus at W&M
By: Fred Jones
Monday, September 22, 2008

While some schools headed off to Oatlands Invitational, Gaithersburg and Damascus headed off together to the William and Mary Invitational. Damascus and Gaithersburg traveled on the same bus and were excited about going. After dinner together and preparing for the race as friends, the two teams went to bed focused and mentally prepared for their two team goals with nothing but success in mind.

Gazing over the course from the starting line, the view was fantastic. The course started with a downhill, sloping back up into a big uphill and then looped around and back towards the spectators so it was great for pictures. It wasn't too hilly and it went into the woods where it was shady with a breeze.

The race order went JV boys, JV girls, Varsity A boys, Varsity A girls, Varsity B boys, Varsity B girls, Varsity C boys, and Varsity C girls. Gaithersburg had runners in the Varsity B boys and the Varsity B girls and Damascus had runners in the JV boys, JV girls, Varsity B girls, and the Varsity C boys.

Starting off the Varsity boys B heat, Gaithersburg set 5 runners on the line. From the gun, all the runners started off extremely fast taking advantage of the downhill and powering their way up the hill. Leading Gaithersburg was Senior Vikas Bahtia and teammate Sophomore Shane Stepek. Next were Senior Matt Milazzo, Sophomore Matt Trumble, and Sophomore Tyler Furman. Throughout the entire race, Bhatia and Stepek kept close to each other at the front of the race. At the last 800, Vikas emerged in 4th place (16:24) and held his spot with a strong finish. Next from Gaithersburg came Stepek in 6th place (16:35), Milazzo in 67th place (18:20), Trumble in 75th place (18:26), and Furman in 109th place (19:08).

After the boys race, the Varsity B girls lined up. Similar to the boy's race, at the start everyone went out fast and took advantage of the downhill in the beginning. Coming around the turn, Gaithersburg's Junior Abby Spitler was in the lead pack. Behind her was a strong Damascus pack with Senior Janna Domico, Junior Emily McIlvried, Senior Taylor Colbert, Sophomore Alex Carroll, Senior Megan Patton, and Junior Chelsea McMinn. Going into the woods, Abby took advantage of the down hills and pulled away from the chase pack. Domico pushed the pace for the Damascus pack. From the 800, Spitler was in 2nd place and came into the finish in 18:58. Coming after her was 2 other runners, and after a time gap, Domico emerged and came through in 5th place (19:47). After that a very tight Damascus pack pulled through with McIlvried in 13th (20:19), Colbert in 14th (20:21), and Carroll in 15th (20:25). Next from Damascus was Patton in 18th place (20:38), and McMinn in 40th place (22:01). From Gaithersburg was Melanie Santos in 44th place (22:19). Finishing right together was Kathleen Davis leading Lauren Rose in 71st and 72nd place (23:27) (23:34).

As the Damascus girls began to cool down, the Damascus boys congratulated them and headed over to the start. As the gun fired, Junior Thomas Arias took to the front and ran with the lead runners. Behind him were Junior Ben Constantinides, Junior Cecil Jonas, Sophomore Charlie Ramirez, Sophomore Alex Arias, and Junior Jon Constantinides. Heading into the woods, Thomas was running strong and not far behind was a strong Damascus pack all pushing each other into the downhill. As the runners began to come into view, Thomas Arias was in 4th place and held onto his spot in a 16:32. Next came Arias in 8th place (16:46), Ramirez in 9th place (16:47), Ben Constantinides in 11th place (16:56), and Jonas in 12th place (16:57). Jon Constantinides came in 15th place (17:17) and Tommy Creegan finished in 22nd place (17:37). The gap between Damascus' 1st and 5th runner was 25 seconds. Damascus won with 44 points.


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