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Eagles Grin and Bear It After Strong Weekend

Posted Monday, September 19, 2011 by Perry King
Eagle Girls Take 2nd at Suffern Invite as King Earns a 1st and Wortner a 2nd During Weekend

It's the type of story of which the dreams of a season are made. The last race of the day, and the final two Eagle runners have been struggling to complete their run, and they're hitting the top of the finishing 300m straightaway, and their team really needs a big effort. The Eagles' top four runners are in with Sarah King winning her first invitational, Shanna Yue taking 12th, and first-time invitationalists Annabelle Sheely sprinting in 16th and Josephine Weidner 25th for the final medal. But Tappan Zee has secured the team victory, and now Dobbs looks like it is on the losing side of a battle with New Paltz for the 2nd place award with the top 33 runners in and Dobbs at 54 for 4 runners and New Paltz at 88 for all 5. Do the math, and you see that the Eagles need the next place and then have to win the 6th place tie-breaker.

At the top of the final stretch, another first-time invitationalist Nell Klassen has a slight lead over two older runners from mighty Long Island Lutheran, but she looks to be in tough shape for the last battle as she faces a gauntlet of crazed screaming Eagles. Rounding the turn a ways behind the three runners is Friday pasta-party-hoster Cara Horsfield, and she can smell the finish and last night's spaghetti is finally kicking in. Down the straightaway it's not looking so good, but with 30 meters to go, Horsfield's late charge allows her to burst ahead for the 34th spot, and Klassen latches on to hurricane Cara and gets pulled in to the finish about a half second behind in 35th.  A short while after when the score sheets are checked and Dobbs is listed third in the tie for 88 points, a review shows that the Eagles' 6th place spot is 8 better than New Paltz's. Flash ahead another 10 minutes and an excited Eagles pack of girls are leaping high in a group picture while sporting their first awards plaque since their 1st in the low-key Byram Hills Bobcat small-school category back in 2009. The successful 2nd place result for the younger Eagles also resembled the first race for the current seniors back in 2006 when they helped win the Somers Big Red in a big surprise.

That's a good way to start a season, and if you overlook the issue of some gullible girls JV runners following the directions of befuddled old race officials instead of following the described course layout, the Eagles had an overall stellar start. While most of the Dobbs crew was at Bear Mountain on Saturday, Sept. 17th for the Suffern Invite, Eagle frontrunner Brendan Wortner was representing the team at the V-V-S states course preview meet, and he ran to a solid 2nd behind Class C rival Brendan Smith of CBA in the initial showdown of a battle that will be revisited again in 8 weeks. Combining B-Wort's effort with a solid showing by the guys at Suffern, the Eagles were boosted up to 9th in the State Class C polls.

The Eagles' day at Bear Mt. started with the freshman races. For the boys, Takanori Okkutsu led the way with a 33rd place, and George Agyros was 103rd for the 1.5M distance. Lindsay Yue ran well with the older runners on the girls side, getting a 55th in the frosh race. The boys JV race was next, and with a lot of runners competing in their first big race, Dobbs took 11th, with Keith Hickey leading the way in 64th, Joey Stallupi was 18 seconds behind in 78th, Kenny Marshall next in 92nd, Terry Taylor in 98th, Gary Lu in 121st, Max Shermet in 152nd, and Ben Sterne in 155th. The girls JV race was a little bolloxed up by errant race officials, but the official results had Dobbs in 6th with Karen Maehara and Chloe Wang taking medals in 19th and 21rst, Mary Constant getting 29th, Rebecca Wiersma straying to a 38th, Lila Walsh taking 57th, Tara O'Brien earning 75th, and Sofia Checa getting 81st. Likely there will be some motivational material coming out of the races.

The Eagle guys were missing their top guy, but freshman Grant Sheely did a nice job of stepping up for the Eagles in a sea of seniors led by host team Suffern. Sheely hung with the big guys to take the 12th place medal and a huge 147 TR speed rating. Conor Culhane finished 35th, Bryan Martin 44th, Gabe Natale 48th, Yusuf Kapadia 63rd, Thomas Newman 68th, and Matt Latainer 71st, as the Eagles took 9th place.

The girls had maybe a stroke of luck in their competition when power teams Northport and Lakeland \ Panas were no-shows for varsity race C. But you can only run against who comes up to toe the line. Sarah King took the lead close to the start, and though her GPS system failed and she made a wrong turn, she was able to regain the lead and cruise home to win by 10 seconds. The four medals won by King, Shanna Yue, Annabelle Sheeley, and Weidner are the biggest haul by the girls varsity in a meet in recent memory, and with Maehara, Wang, Grant Sheely, and Brendan Wortner at V-V-S pushing the Eagles stash to 8 medals and that big 2nd-place plaque, the team was in bling heaven.

Earlier in the week the team ran at Irvington, where the Eagles dropped two narrow decisions to the Bulldogs though Wortner and Grant Sheely finished 1-2 for the boys and King and Shanna Yue finished 1-2 for the girls. Following a race on Tuesday at Hastings and a Friday pasta garden party at the Wang \ Kolenda residence, the team will head down to the Six Flags park in central NJ for the Wild Safari meet on Saturday, Sept. 24.

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