CHS Cross Country Has Exciting Week
The Islander Boys and Girls Cross Country Teams had their first Central League match-up with Christian High School at Morley Field last Wednesday, but it wasn’t the first meet of the season. Both teams had attended the same four invitational events earlier in the season. Since the results of each meet are posted on the web, both teams knew what needed to be done to win.
Under the tutelage of Head Coach Danny Garcia, the Patriots have fielded strong teams over the past few years. In fact, their Girls team won the Central League title from us last year by one point. After studying the results of all of the other girls cross country teams in our league, it was obvious that this meet would determine the league championship. No other team in the Central League is close and this match-up could go either way.
Coronado’s strength resides in its four freshmen runners Sallie Privett, (undefeated in her four previous starts this year), Adrianna Davies, Coco O’Brien, and Selina Schmeck. This formidable quartet is backed-up by seniors Lindsay Pettee, Sheila Braun, track and field standout Sarah Player, and sophomores Brigid Twomey and Helen Luppi.
Christian’s strength is found in the depth of their roster, with frosh soccer star Devin Marshall too close for comfort to Davies, junior Hannah Pearl right behind, frosh Taryn Dunton only 15 seconds back, with Kaylyn Sofranko and Ashley Naugle within striking range. Christian’s strategy was for Marshall to break up our expected 1-2 finish. Our strategy was to keep this from happening.
Normally Sallie would be so far in front, she’d be out of sight after the first half-mile. With the league championship at stake, she paced Davies for the first part of the race, before taking off to win with a time of 19:19 over the City Conference 3-mile course. Davies held on to win over Marshall to finish second in 20:31 to Marshall’s 20:46. Both girls were spent at the end.
Following were Pearl (21:36), O’Brien (21:42), Dunton (21:50), Sofranko (22:18), Naugle (22:42), Schmeck (23:08), and Pettee (23:30). Coronado won by a single point 27-28, with the low score winning in cross country. Rounding out the finishers for Coronado were Braun, Player and Luppi. The Patriots are a class team and after fighting back tears, they came over to congratulate the Islander girls. This is what cross country is like – there’s a mutual respect because all runners know how physically demanding this sport is.
The Boys Central League championship wasn’t expected to be determined by this meet, but Christian had a plan to beat us. First, a few words about how cross country is scored. A team consists of seven runners. In the Central League, we run everyone together, but only the top seven runners from each team figure in the score. The finish positions of the Top 5 from each team are added together with the sixth and seventh finishers not counted in the score, but they push back the finish position of the other team’s runners. If a team can finish 1-2-3, they mathematically lock the race. This is the dream of every cross country coach, after a 1-2-3 finish he can stop paying attention to the score, the match is won, and he’ll win by at least one point even if the other team places all seven of their runners between his third and fourth finisher.
Juniors Ben Enowitz and Michael Davies, along with sophomore David Grimes, are a formidable Top 3. The only way for Christian to win was to break-up this trio and take the race with their superior depth. Coronado has a large, young Boys team this year, with more than enough runners to field three seven-runner teams. But most of those runners are still in the ‘developmental phase’ of their cross country experience.
Christian’s attempt to break our lock at the top didn’t happen. Enowitz, Davies and Grimes ran a controlled race in that order, over the City 3-mile course, with times of 17:01, 17:11 and 17:22 respectively. The potential spoiler, Christian’s Josh May, was fourth in 17:34, but Grimes was just protecting the lock and has a devastating finishing kick, if needed.
The next six runners were from Christian, so the lock was needed to win the meet. The final score was 28-30. Cotter Stacy was the Islanders fourth varsity finisher, placing 10th in 18:37, followed by Ben Green (12th in 18:49), Jose Tijerina (13th in 19:05), and Turner Stanley (14th in 19:15).