“Trust the man in front of you, trust the man behind you, trust the guys to your left and to your right, but most importantly trust yourself. I trust you. You can do this, but it will take all seven of you to pull it off.” – Final instructions to the boys before they toed the line.
Friday’s race was once again going to be quite the task for the Varsity seven that shocked the conference the previous week at the SEC Championship. However, this time they were facing much steeper competition to earn their ticket to the State Championship. A field 16 teams including 3 who were ranked and a few more on paper that looked to pose difficulties for our boys was no small task to overcome. With a clear objective, the boys went into battle not just with each other, but for each other and proved again that this group young men will rise to the occasion.
The setting of race day was a perfect one: cool temperatures, a minimal breeze, and the rain from two-days prior had compacted the loose dirt. We knew this was going to be a fast day and that it was. Leading the way for the Eagles was Anthony Giannobile (8th, 16:03) who took the lead from the gun and forced the entire field to chase after a blistering pace that saw him register splits of 2:10 at 800m and 4:46 at the mile!!! His pace slowed a bit, but still held on to the lead until near 2miles, (which he went through in 9:50). Feeling the effects of a blistering early pace, Anthony did a marvelous job of staying mentally tough and persevering to an 8th place finish as Skyline’s top man. Running a slightly different race was Tristan Williams (9th, 16:05 *PR*), who got in the mix of the chase pack early on and was running near 15th through the first 2 miles. Tristan then pulled away and started to reel in the runners ahead of him with about 1 kilometer left and finished right behind Anthony for 9th and a new PR of 16:05!! For their efforts, Anthony and Tristan earned All-Region Honors. Not to be outdone, it may have been Zach Reynolds (23rd, 16:36 *PR*) who put on the race of the day! Early in the race Zach jumped in a pack of Dexter and Pioneer runners and fought tooth and nail against them, battling his way from 30th to 23rd over the final mile – this seemed to be a theme for our guys! – and finished with a 20-second PR! Justin Michele (32nd, 16:48 *PR*) and Liam Smith (35th, 16:51 *PR*) rounded out the scoring for the Eagles and although they finished near each other, the two ran completely different races to get there. Justin ran a more aggressive race on the front end, going out with Zach Reynolds for the first-half, while Liam kept Justin insight, but managed to breakaway from the pack of runners he was racing with about a 1/2-mile to the finish. Much kudo’s to Garrett Peck (49th, 17:11 *PR*) and Jesse Edelstein (64th, 17:40) who both laid it on the line, running with Liam early on to provide us with a strong insurance policy in case something happened to the top 5 guys. Garrett finished with a 21-second PR, and that makes it 5 consecutive races that he’s set a new PR! Although Jesse didn’t finish with a time he was hoping for, he provided for our team as a reliable young competitor and gain great experience in a high pressure setting.
Great work by all as they survive and advance to the State Championship which will be held at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan on Saturday, November 7th. Boy’s D1 race is scheduled for 3:00pm and awards will be at 3:45pm. We’ve shocked the conference, we’ve shocked the regional now it’s time to take the State by storm!