Eagles Get Some Joy in Mudville at Bowdoin in Coaches Meet
They said it was going to rain, and it sure did. Sill no one was quite prepared for the soul-sucking muck of a day it would be at Bowdoin Park on Saturday, October 24, as 11 races turned the big hill of a course into a slippery, sloppy muck. For the teams running in the early races in the pouring rain, conditions were bad. For teams like Dobbs who had both of their varsity squads in the later races that were run in the pulverizing rain, conditions were close to obscene. And we don't even want to talk about what happened for the JV girls running in the day's 10th race. But it could have been worse; the predicted thunder and lightning never showed up. And as always, a fun time was had by all.
Cheered on by four members from last year's squad -- Izzy Natale, Boris Opacic, Viktor Mashalov, and Pat Newman -- the Eagles got to run a kind of practice meet for the Sectional Championships that will be held at Bowdoin on Friday, November 6. More than 80 teams ran in their meet and all were given a thorough grounding in how to run in sludge. Despite the bad conditions and slow times, a number of runners on the teams including the top three Eagles equaled or bested their previous top Tully Rating score. And for the handful of Eagles running or practicing on the course for the first time, the day was a good learning experience for a Sectional meet that will almost certainly be run under less terrible conditions.
After setting up their tent during the day's first downpour, the Eagles got to watch some exciting races and get the reports about where the course was becoming most hazardous. In the boys Varsity 1 race, Alex Deir and Steve Mangan of Honeoye Falls - Lima ran 1-2 in leading their team to a close victory over Brewster. The 1-C conference's top team, Pawling, ran only a JV squad in the race and finished far back. In the following girls' Varsity 1 race, Pearl River packed in five runners between the 7-14 places to beat Bronxville by 12 points. At least five of the finishers looked like they had fallen during the race. The boys Varsity 2 race was dominated by Arlington, but Irvington's Julian Saliani finished 2nd behind Edward Owens of Packer Collegiate. The girls Varsity 2 race was won by Honeoye Falls - Lima and top runner Amanda Moreland.
With close to a thousand runners having already chewed up the course during the previous races in intermittent downpours, by the time the Eagle guys hit the line they knew they were running into bad stuff. The race began with a huge charge of runners going out way too fast, possibly hoping to avoid the worst of the mess. This worked well for Pat and Brendan Wortner who methodically worked their way past dozens of tiring runners going up the hill and staying strong through to the finish. Nick Hughes of North Rockland won the race for the champion Red Raiders with the highest rated time of the day. Pat Wortner closed fast to take the 5th place medal and Brendan followed in 5 seconds later for 9th. George Epstein came in 60th, Grant Sheely 111th and Keith Hickey 154th for the Eagles, who finished 11th. Because of scoring adjustments made to reflect the worsening conditions during the day, both Pat and Brendan Wortner scored personal best Tully Rankings at 176 and 174.
The girls got somewhat worse conditions for their race, but they plugged their way through and finished in 10th, just 7 points behind Hastings and with a much better average time. Nanuet's Megan Young ran the highest rated race of the day and Monroe Woodbury easily beat North Rockland for the title. The Eagles' Sarah King worked her way through the crowd and equaled her best TR at 108 to take the 8th place medal. Shanna Yue moved up to the Eagles' 2nd spot taking 53rd, and she was followed in by Lila Walsh in 66th, Chloe Wang in 69th, Mary Constant in the Eagles' 5th spot at 73rd, and Clara Winder charged past two runners at the finish to take 86th.
The girls JV had the final fun and games on a course that was quickly turning into swampland. With runners falling like bowling pins all around them, Kim Anker, Sofia Maluf, and Suzanna Halatyn managed to stay upright long enough to finish in 96th, 97th, and 104th. A girl finishing shortly after them summed up the theme of the day by exclaiming to a teammate, "I am so done with cross country." A lengthy session with a hose was necessary to get the mud washed down to a reasonable amount of layers for the ride home.
Another great performance was turned in by Rebecca Wiersma, the Eagles' timer and recorder for the meet, who nailed all the times to within a second of the official results, an unheard of rate of accuracy especially under the brutal conditions. The Eagles now venture on to a more serious meet as the Westchester County Meet at Somers looms ahead on Saturday, October 31. The runners got their trick at the Coaches Meet; now they're hoping for a treat at the County Meet.
Videos of parts of many of the races is available at: