Despite outstanding performances from Steven Trayer (first overall) and Paul Myer (runner-up) Clarke’s boys couldn’t overcome George Mason’s pack and had to settle for second place in the Bull Run District meet October 27th on Rappahannock High School’s home course. Mason led the team standings with a score of 38 points, while Clarke had 48, ending their six-year run as champions. The meet set up as planned for the Eagles, as Trayer shot out at the gun, holding a commanding lead, with the rest of his teammates close behind, competing with Mason’s pack. Myer settled into a comfortable second at the 800-meter mark, closely followed by Zach Campbell and Adam King,
with the rest of the pack, as they cruised through the first mile. George Mason continued to pick up, passing Clarke runners, as the Eagle runners began to fade on the hills. Trayer crossed the line in 17:02, beating his time and third-place finish from last year. Myer followed in 17:29, repeating again as District runner-up. Campbell was the next Eagle to cross the line in 12th place (18:35), earning him All-District second team honors. The difference was with Clarke’s fourth and fifth place scorers, Renaldo Jiminez (16th, 19:19) and Chris Smalley (17th in 19:31). Mason placed all seven runners in the top 15, with four of them in the top eight. For the Eagle runners it was the first time in their careers they hadn’t finished first at Districts.
“I was really disappointed when I first heard we didn’t win. We have to work harder to pull our runners together (3rd – 5th places) to take Regionals. I think as a team we didn’t give it our best shot. I know I could have run better,” said Trayer. “The wind during the race was somewhat of a factor as was dodging the horse piles in the field. It’s kind of scary taking the lead like I did. I couldn’t hear anyone behind me. The only gauge I used was people cheering for those behind me. I knew Paul was right there, and if he overtook me, that’s okay.”
“I was thirty second slower than I did on this course two weeks ago,” reported Campbell. Next week at Regionals I hope to run sub-18 and focus on a solid pace.”
Clarke’s other two runners were Matt Dietz, 21st in 19:50, and Adam King, 27th in 20:34.
The top four teams (Mason, Clarke, Strasburg with 89 points and Manassas Park with 107 points) all qualified for next week’s Regionals at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, as did the top 15 individuals.
For the girls’ race, it was a repeat from last year, as Katlyn Ayers from Strasburg, defending State champion, won in 19:51, and the top three teams finished in the same order as last year. Mason, defending State champions, ran away with the meet by placing all seven runners in the top nine, and four of the top five places. Their 21 points bested Strasburg’s 45, Clarke’s 98, and fourth place team finisher Manassas Park with 113.
Senior Ally Kuehm led the Eagles in 10th place in 22:09, earning All-District honors for all four of her high school years. “I’m happy with my performance after missing so much time during the season. I’m confident our team can place in the top four next week and advance to States. The middle of the race with the steep hill was definitely the hardest part of the course. I’ll need to work on hills this week since there’s a big one at Mile Two on the Regional course.”
Other Eagle scorers were Courtney Butterfass (18th in 24:02); Megan Waring (20th in 24:17); Amy Legare (22nd in 24:32);and Becca York (28th in 25:28). Nicole Legare (29th, 25:35) and Amanda Cascio (33rd, 26:10) completed the Eagle runners.
Coach Bowles was obviously disappointed to see the streak end, particularly since seniors Myer and Trayer had only lost to a District opponent once in their high school careers. “The positives were we had the first and second best runners. We need to focus on moving third through fifth up and closer to George Mason’s pack. We’ve gone back and forth with Mason this season, so if we get a solid 3-4-5 and step-up, we can finish on top. For the girls, we’re going for third again. We’ll do fine if everyone races to their potential.”
The Regional meet will be held Wednesday, November 3rd, with the girls race at 3:00 p.m., and the boys beginning at 4 p.m. The course is located north of Charlottesville, two miles from Charlottesville Airport.
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