News: Falcons battle in Virginia
The Falcons sent 24 runners to Leesburg, VA, on Friday September 15, to run in the Oatlands Invitational on Saturday, September 16. After previewing the course Friday, it was apparent that the course was the toughest we would run all year.
The first race of the day was the JV boys race, and the Falcons entered the minimum of five runners to earn a team score. That meant that it was essential that all five run well. With 52 teams at the starting line and narrow starting boxes, the Falcons would have to get out fast to avoid the traffic of so many runners on the course. The boys got out well and went to the lead pack from the start. Spencer Cowley took command halfway through the race and ended up with the individual title. Amazingly, all five GH boys finished in the top 8 as the team dominated the field. Spencer was followed by Michael Biddle (2nd), Michael Taylor (6th), Luke Bakley (7th), and Liam McBride (8th).
The JV girls race was next and the girls faced a similar situation as the boys. Four of the five GH girls went to the front pack and wore down the competition. When it was all done, the girls went 1, 2, 3, 4, and 17 to bring home the secnd title of the day. Emma Benson won the individual title and was followed by Morgan Peele, Bailey Fowler, Natash Abramowicz, and Rebecca Robinson.
The girls championship was next, and the girls were unsure as to how they would perform as all of the teams in the race were unknown to the Falcons. The Falcons were outside of the lead group of teams from the start and a runner or two were off from their usual performances, but the girls managed to finish 7th out of 60 teams -- even on an off day. Times were a bit slower due to the difficult course, but the girls performed well.
The big event of the day was the boys championship race as the #9 nationally-ranked Falcons went up against #1-ranked Loudon Valley (VA) on the Virginians' home course. It would take a special effort on the boys’ part to beat the top-ranked team. While Peyton Barish went to the lead pack early on and finished 5th, most of the rest of the boys were a bit off their game. Even while not performing their best, the Falcons still finished as the runner-up team over huge field of 74 teams. Loudon Valley and GH will face off in a rematch on October 7th on the Falcons home course as the Great American Cross Country Festival comes to Wake Med Park.