BATTLE OF THE POTOMAC SEEDED GIRLS GAITHERSBURG, MD Nov. 19, 2011 Chilly...
Team VA Sweeps Battle XC 5
Experience on the Smokey Glen Farm double loop 5K course pays dividends. Virginia’s Crystal Nelson was 9th a year ago and used that experience to confidently take the lead on the opening mile. The opening mile is slightly uphill until you hit the Christmas Tree farm. Veterans know that you want to let it go over the next half mile before you reach the stream crossing and the infamous hill. Nelson had a comfortable lead approaching the first mile and never was threatened. The expected push from two current and past state champions in Maryland’s 4A division did not materialize. Anna Ryba had won all her post-season races in Maryland but just was outmatched by Nelson’s early surge. Ryba ran a steady race and used her strength on the hills to pull away from the other chasers to secure 2nd. It was Virginia’s depth that was the difference once again for the Team wins for both girls and boys.
The Potomac XC Cup is determined by scoring the top 10 finishers for each state. The girls’ scoring was decided by the 6-10 runners; in fact, Maryland’s girls would have won 26-29 if scoring was like a 7 member team race. Since team size is unlimited, the scoring system of 10 team members reflected the bigger team size and emphasized depth. Virginia’s girls put 9 runners between the #5 and #6 runners for Team Maryland. That pack was the key to the team win as Virginia won 96 – 116 over the favored Maryland squad. The top ten scorers on the winning Virginia girls team (have won 4 of the 5 Battle XC races) were: race winner Crystal Nelson, Mountain View’s Mackenzie Davis in 3rd, TJ’s senior Stephanie Marzen in 6th, West Potomac senior Dale Lescher 9th, TJ’s Kelly Rogers in 10th, Nelson’s Millbrook teammate Karly Knechtel in 11th, West Springfield freshman Jessica Simmons in 12th, Mountain View’s Kimberly Ficenec in 13th, TC Williams freshman Sydney Schaedel in 14th and Home Schooler Elizabeth Long from Potomac Falls in 15th to round out the Virginia scoring.
The Boys Potomac XC Cup winner was not as clear cut. For the second year in a row, Team West Virginia brought enough boy competitors to score in the Seeded race. There was no surprise when another Battle of The Potomac veteran grabbed the lead after the first half mile. Brandon Doughty had run in the fastest state cross country boys championship in West Virginia history. Three boys broke the previous state meet record and Doughty was 4th. He ran the Smokey Glen Farm course with total confidence. He had a slight motivator in the field, his teammate Eric Graf. When Graf made an early move to pass Doughty, he decided that it was time to seize the lead. Graf kept chase and was the surprise 2nd place finisher giving West Virginia an unexpected 1-2 finish. As in the girls’ race, Team Virginia’s solid depth was not challenged as the Commonwealth took 10 of the top 19 places to score 100 points to runner-up Team Maryland’s 172. West Virginia was a close third in 193.
The lead runner for Team Virginia was Battlefield freshman Haben Demichael. He held off Patrick Henry senior and All-State AAA finisher Patrick Woodford for the top team spot and 3rd place in the boys’ race. Demichael was 28th at the VA AAA State Meet race one week earlier and was not fazed by the double loop Smokey Glen Farm course. JB Adams of St Albans in Washington DC gave the District a top 10 finisher with his 5th place run. Other top 10 scorers on the Virginia Winning team were Potomac Falls All-state lead runner Connor Wilson in 7th, West Springfield’s Colin Taylor in 8th, Edison freshman Louis Colson in 11th, followed by Millbrook’s Ryan Farnan in 12th, TC Williams’ Darren Foreman in 13th, Herndon’s Troy Hunsaker in 15th, James Wood’s Nick Brown, and Jimmy Luehrs of Herndon in 19th.
Thanks to all the coaches and parents who supported the American Running Association’s Battle of the Potomac XC Championship. Thanks to Nike for their support that allows ARA to provide amenities like the signature Team singlets. Further information and photos and an upcoming music video will be posted on www.battlexc.com