Bees, Bees, BEES! Actually, some sort of ground wasp, but you get the picture. Course is marked, volunteers are arranged, schools have showed up...and bees on the course. Not just a couple, either, but BILLIONS! Especially after Sandu tried to plug the hole with sticks. Kudos to him for bravery! Also kudos to the sacrificial middle schoolers who “discovered” them. It would have been worse on a course walk! By the way, kids, it’s never the first one through who gets stung. Moral? RUN FASTER! In the end, we had several heros who saved the day for us. Sarah Lester, SRen’s mom, who donated two cans of wasp killer to the cause, then Rebekkah Herrmann, who not only donated two more, but stayed there for half the girls race to stand guard. Also, another shout out to Sandu, who sacrificed with another sting while spraying (I escaped unharmed, and I thought Sandu was faster!). To the best of my knowledge none of the 185 athletes were stung! A final shout-out to Lee Laughlin and Leah Fallon, who dodged sweat showers and the occasional regurgitated lunch to record names at the end of the chute. Thank you!
On to the races. Joining MV was Lebanon, making their return to DII, the Bow Army (there’s so many!), Plymouth, and perennial power Hanover. Once again for the girls, the game-plan was to continue to work on team running, and getting stronger as a unit. And once again, the girls responded wonderfully, storing their egos and quest for individual glory, saving it for another day (Saturday?). Today the race played out similarly to Friday, with the front pack hanging tight through the mile, before slowly whittling down to SRen and SReb (I’m trying out new nicknames each week to see which one sticks). The slight difference was the sprint was for second, rather than the overall win. Both laughing as they came down the final straight, SRen turned her jets up just a hair more to get the call at the line. For the record, it was track coach Mullen who made the call, and not SRen’s dad. We think. Emma rolled in mere seconds later, all strangely close to their time from Friday on a much more rough day/course. Things changed soon, however, as Samantha cruised in at 4th position, almost 3 minutes up on Friday’s time. Maddy was 5th for MV, also taking a chunk of time off (4 minutes better than last year!). Behind the front pack, there was a second pack tasked with running together through the first mile who also did an exceptional job team running. Taking the 6th spot again was Theresa, improving almost 4 minutes from Friday, while right behind her was Violet, snagging the final varsity spot for Saturday. Violet was in a land of her own for much of the race, as I wasn’t sure where she would fit in, but now we know! Next in was Cassidy, improving a whopping 5 minutes, then Carlie (over 4 minutes improved), Bea (5 minutes), Nikki (2 ½), Anna (3 minutes), MacNeil (1 ½), Emmaliegh (4 ½), Victoria (OVER 5 minute improvement!), Liz (1 minute), and Taylor, who must really enjoy those tough hills and muggy conditions of the Apple Orchard. No worries Taylor, we’ll be back their soon!
Team-wise, Hanover won, although MV was very close behind (38 to 45). Once our 4th and 5th close it up a little, look out! And we will continue to take chunks of time off!
On to the boys race, where we were just letting them race as this team is still such a big unknown. And what a pleasant surprise today was! Back in June we really were not sure what to expect from these boys, but probably not an opening meet like today! Ethan took things out scary fast, and while I didn’t see him at the mile and assumed he had ran himself into the ground it turned out he was just hiding. He not only ran fast, he ran his all-time XC PR (personal record), in the first meet! Ethan is officially our new face of what summer running can do...or is he…? Next across the line, healthy despite almost trying to get hit by a car or tossed out of Whales Tail, our Next Great Hope - Mark. I swear, Sandu has been talking about this kid since before he was born, and he didn’t disappoint, placing as our #2 and almost breaking 20 minutes in his first ever high school race. Next was an epic battle between Isaac (Space Bear) and Christian. What a kick! I thought from my vantage point that it was Isaac, but no, the senior pulled rank and got there first. If he had given one more high five in the race he might not have had it, but just enough was there. MV’s 5th runner was Elisha in 21:16, looking smooth and...wait, what? Elisha? 21:16?!? Every year I say “consistent summer running will take 60 to 90 seconds off your time”, assuming you weren’t a consistent runner before. It looks like I’ll have to modify that, as Elisha took a whopping 125 seconds off his best time on this course from last year! He is therefore the new face of summer running. Awesome! Anything is possible with hard work, people! Remind me to tell you what place Ethan got in the Middle School State Meet his 7th grade year. These kids make me proud. Speaking of proud, our likely next finisher was Marshall, but he did not race. But what he did do was show up and support his teammates, cup of ice to the mouth (minor surgery) and everything. Finishing in actual 6th spot for MV was Oliver, followed shortly by Jack. Connor had a monster kick of his own, catching 3 kids in the process. Tim went under the 30 minute barrier, while Trevor, Buffalo, and Aidan wrapped up the running for MV.
In the team scoring, Hanover once again took home the honors followed by a strong Bow squad. MV came in a surprising 3rd, defeating both Lebanon and Plymouth.