SEC Jamboree 1, Hudson Mills Metropark South Course, Dexter
Varsity – 4th out of 13 | Reserve – 2nd out of 13.
Cool winds and blue skies provided a near-perfect scenery and race setting, which is quite the contrast from the last time our boys spiked up to compete. The Southeastern Conference and great distance running have been synonymous since the conference’s inception and this fall seems to prove to be a continuation of the parallel. In the most recent Coaches’ Poll (link) the SEC is home to the #1, #3, #9, #12, #20 Division-1 teams in the State, as well as the #2 Division-2 team. It’s truly an embarrassment of riches, but also gets our guys battle-tested and well prepared for the larger invitationals and the championship portion of the season.
The Varsity Race did not disappoint as the lead pack of 4, including our own Anthony Giannobile, pulled the field through the first mile in 4:50, setting a strong tone early on and it seemed like no one was scared to take their foot off the gas pedal. Ultimately, the first two finishers pulled away in the final mile, but Anthony was still able to run a PR and finished 3rd overall in his first healthy cross country race in 2-years! Next was the combo of Jesse Edelstein and Justin Michele who finished 14th and 17th. The race was an 18-second PR for Jesse and for Justin it was a great season opener after spending the last few weeks cross-training through an injury. Running a big break through race and dipping under the 17:00-barrier for the first time ever was Daniel Evans, who looked stronger as the race progressed, moving up and chopping down on runners the second half of the race. Not far behind was Keegan Oldani who finished 35th overall to round out the scoring, but more impressively he ran 1:46 faster than he did last year at this race last fall!
The Reserve Race was much of the same, with Thomas Young leading the field wire to wire, winning convincingly and looking like a man on a mission! If Thomas was setting the tone of the team attitude up front, the rest of the Reserve team responded valiantly, placing 6 in the Top-25 and 10 in the Top-50!!! The freshman dual of Vimal Alokam and Hobbs Kessler showed that the Northville meet was not a one-hit wonder performance and they are the real deal. In fact, they were the 2nd and 3rd fastest freshman in the entire conference! Rounding out the scoring for the Reserves were three guys that might have the best personal stories of development, perseverance, and success; Brian York, David Garrido-Witkowski and Thomas Boss. For Brian, this was his first PR in two years, as he dealt with a myriad of injuries and the euphoria and excitement not just from him, but for him from his fellow seniors after the race was a moment that will forever be captured in my own memory. Similarly, David had been living a similar path albeit a year younger, as he hadn’t been able to get any solid training in over three weeks. After the warm up, David was ready to call it as his shin pains never subdued and the day looked to be over before it began, but when I looked at the start line moments before the gun went off, there he was! What exactly turned the tide for him I may never know, but his display of competitiveness and self-certainty amidst a storm of doubt, injuries and despondency was a display of how powerful the human and competitive spirit truly is. For Thomas, who is a golfer during the spring season, this summer looked to be a steep learning curve, but once the competition season began, he has been living proof of the term “the cream will always rise to the top” as he keeps finding a way to get to the front of his training group and races. New enrollee, Sam Gardner, had been a wonder-child of some kind as he had flashes and moments of big breakthroughs in practice, but this race may have solidified that he is one to not just keep an eye on, but buy up his stock now because his stock is about to bull-market quick! Ira Bennet and Isaac Darragh finished within 3-seconds of each other, but both with big PR’s (90 and 30 seconds), but the road leading there was a tale of two cities. Ira had the classic story of “consistent quality training” this summer as he began his work before the school year was over, often running with David and Daniel Evans after school – even during Finals week. Isaac on the other-hand was away out of the country for 6-weeks, but came back physically taller and stronger (probably ate his Wheaties every morning) and somehow was able to jump right back into training like he hadn’t missed a beat! Nonetheless, both were able to throw down some great PR’s and show the quality of depth this team has.
The stories can go on, but never gets old as Aymil Motawi, Aaron Von Bargen, Freddie Villalobos, Luke Warhurst, Ian Steele, Grant Murphy, Jahi Hawkins, Eli Brush, Forest Hadley, Alex Iekel-Johnson, and Josiah Master all posted new Personal Records by over 1:00 minute! The Skyline harriers get ready to reload and take on a field of elite teams at the Michigan State Spartan Invitational on Friday at Forest Akers East Golf Course.
Out of This World Awards: Daniel Evans, Thomas Young, David Garrido-Witkowski
Split Sheet can be found here *Delta* is a new stat that shows the difference between fastest and slowest mile splits awards will be given to guys with a “Delta” below 30-seconds in the month of September and below 20-seconds in the month of October.