Skyline boys, Central girls win team titles
By Jim Laise -- email@example.com
WOODSTOCK -- On Saturday Central boys lead runner Tristan Lucy-Speidel lurked behind, considered the competition of about 100 participants, then made his move in the highly competitive Falcon Invitational. He finished a healthy sixth.
Wednesday, in slightly cooler temperatures, the Central senior jumped out ahead on the 3-mile old Wetzel Farm course off North Street and never relinquished his lead.
The result was a first-place finish in 16:52.43, topping his Saturday time on the same course by better than three seconds.
"Saturday was a very competitive race and he wanted to see how the field was doing before making his move," said Central coach Melissa Wright. "[Wednesday] he just got out there and took care of things. He ran like he owned this course, which, since it's our home course, that's what he should do."
Lucy-Speidel and Warren County's Claire Morrow (20:38.82) were the respective boys and girls winners in a mini-Conference 28 meet which included the Falcons, Wildcats, Skyline, John Champe and Loudoun Valley. Members William Monroe and Rock Ridge failed to enter teams.
"Physically, I just wanted to start out in front and stay there [Wednesday] rather than follow the front pack, and I think that worked out for me," said Lucy-Speidel.
Skyline (26) was the overall boys' winner, placing five runners among the top nine finishers. Central (31) won the girls event, placing four among the top eight finishers.
The top five competitors on each of the entered teams scored points for their particular aggregations. There were no medalists in this meet.
Running against good competition is nothing new for Lucy-Speidel. This summer he spent about a month in Lynchburg taking part in academic activities. While there he competed with a 6A runner from Northern Virginia and a member of the Lynchburg College varsity men's team.
Then he earned a grant to take part in a running camp on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University.
"I think both things helped me a lot to get ready for my senior year," said Lucy-Speidel.
This final high school season is important for the slender runner not only because it's the last go-around, but also because of sacrifices he and his family have made to see that he completes his career in Woodstock.
Earlier, Lucy-Speidel's mother, Beth, took a high-ranking administrative position in the Cornell University Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Management and Economics. Thus she traveled to the New York Ivy League institution, while his dad, Mark, and one of his three brothers stayed behind to let those boys compete on Falcon athletic teams.
"It's hard because, obviously, I miss my mother, but it's a job for her that was too good to pass up. My dad stayed here and worked [in Warrenton] so that we could finish our senior year," Lucy-Speidel said.
Thus far it has paid off. Lucy-Speidel easily distanced himself from second-place finisher Luke Cline (17:28.99) of Skyline.
"We ran in bunches," said Skyline coach Mike Tanner said. "In cross country, that's what you want. Of course you don't want your bunch finishing at the end."
The Hawk coach did not have to worry about that. Skyline's Cline, Demetry Arnold (third, 17:53.22), Justin Haggerty (sixth, 18:15.41), Tanner Steed (eighth, 18:34.23) and Christian Madden (ninth, 18:39.21) ran about a minute between each other over the course.
"That's what you want,'' Tanner said.
Meanwhile, the Central girls showed similar depth. Behind Warren's Morrow were Falcons Bethany Neri (second, 21:00.62), Elsa Garcia (third, 21:29.65) and Lexi Keller (fifth, 21:28.61). These upper-class girls were followed by freshmen Ciarra Philpott (ninth 22:38.41), Madison Pence (12th, 23:21.97), Lauren Cook (14th, 24:06.17) and Megan Freiwald (17th, 25:04.63).
"The seniors finished well and those freshmen gave us some depth," said Wright. "It will be exciting to see how the young ones do as the season goes on."
A year ago, Warren County placed its girls and boys teams in the state tournament, a first for the Front Royal school. This year, under new coach Rebecca Webster, it appears the Wildcats are in a rebuilding mode.
"Claire is going to be our leader and she's a good one to start with," said Webster, who took over for Northern Virginia Daily cross-country coach of the year Jeremy Burnworth, who has moved to another school district. "Not only does she work extremely hard, but she also leads our other girls and makes sure they get their work in."
"We went through a coaching change this summer and at first I was worried," admitted Morrow. "But the new coaches showed us we were going to work just as hard and so it's really been fun running for them."
Warren County's girls finished fourth overall (115), while the boys did not register according to the official post-meet standings.
Central's boys, who finished second (43) in the meet, were led by Lucy-Speidel, Ivan Alvarado (fourth, 18:01.52), Wyatt Robinson (10th, 18:49.27), Thomas Gilmore (14th, 19:03.16), Nick Waldron (18th, 19:40.58) and Gus Wightman (20th, 19:49.04).
Skyline's girls team finished fifth (116). McKayla Jackson (19th, 25:11.56) had the Hawks' best time.
Warren's best boys time was turned in by Erik Stafira (seventh, 18:28.72).