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By Mike Forster
The Cav harriers showed that cross country truly is about the team.
Jefferson Forest continued to flex its muscle, qualifying both the boys? and the girls? teams for the State championship this Saturday at Warrenton. The girls? team won the Regional title while the boys? team took fourth.
It must be noted that those feats were accomplished with only one individual top-ten performance by any runner wearing the black and red?Zach Smith nabbed seventh.
On the boys? side, Smith?s effort was obviously aided by teammate Robert Deis, who finished 11th, the second best performance by any sophomore at the event.
The more subtle assistance to the Cav cause came from Todd tenPas, who finished 23rd, just ahead of running mate Wes Spangler. tenPas and Spangler finished well ahead of their Brookville counterparts. Therefore, even though Brookville?s Jacob Arthur finished second overall, the Cav team performance was able to neutralize Arthur?s fine individual performance. Forest edged the Bees for the fourth, and final, qualifying spot for States.
Also of note, Michael Plazak and Vatsal Patel turned in fine performances, both finishing ahead of Brookville?s fourth finisher. Therefore, even though Patel?s points didn?t figure in the Forest total, his effort helped to worsen Brookville?s total.
Head Coach Jerome Loy was pleased with his lads. ?I told Todd that we needed his best race of the year, and Michael was running on a sprained ankle,? he noted. ?At the one-mile mark we were still patient. Zach was so strong.?
Liberty had two boys entered as individuals after qualifying at the District Championship. Clint Overstreet finished in 37th at the Regional and Ryne Bollinger took 46th.
Loy was equally happy with his girls. ?Alicia Hooper had the race of her life,? he stated. ?Cameron DeWitt showed why it?s a team sport.?
With sensation Nicki Jannah ailing, DeWitt stepped up to lead a parade of Forest runners. When DeWitt finished 12th, there were murmurings along the finish line that perhaps the Cavs wouldn?t make the cut. That talk didn?t last long as Olivia Jackson zipped in two slots later. Jannah came in two spots after Jackson and then, (yep) two slots later, along came Rachel McKeague.
Senior Hooper finished in 23rd and was closely followed by Allison Fishburne, in 25th. Freshman Katherine Drablos wrapped up things for the Cavs with a very respectable 31st place.
Staunton River?s Natalie Andrusky just missed making the trip to States. The junior finished in 19th place, despite being cheered on by several Eagle teammates who had made the trip to lend their support. The top 15 runners qualified for States, in addition to the top four teams.
Said Coach Loy, ?Cross country is such a team sport. (People) only realize it when you get into these situations.?
Assuming Jannah and super-frosh Justin Resendes (had to drop due to some breathing difficulties at the Regional) are at 100% for the State meet, the team should be even stronger.
Top team scores:
1. Jefferson Forest 82
2. Turner Ashby 108
3. Brookville 119
4. Harrisonburg 173
1. Spotswood 73
2. Harrisonburg 84
3. Turner Ashby 86
4. Jefferson Forest 92
The meet was hosted by Jefferson Forest at its beautiful home course at Wolf Branch Farm.