WOODSTOCK – Teamwork often times leads to success. Skyline’s Sabrina Wilkins and Carrie Hotek found that out on Saturday.
The Skyline girls cross country dynamic duo worked together and finished third and fourth in the Central Cross Country Invitational held at Central’s North Street Course.
“It was a good race,” Wilkins said. “Me and Carrie had talked about trying to stay together and work as a team to help progress to the front and that worked.”
Wilkins, a junior, placed third in a time of 19:23, while Hotek was right behind her for a fourth-place finish (19:26).
Hotek, a senior, said in the past she’s always tried to start off too fast and she decided to change things up this season.
“Usually at the beginning of the race I just go way too fast,” Hotek said. “I get too much adrenaline. So my strategy today was just stay with Sabrina, which is so different for me. I’m just used to being at the front and just trying to survive the whole race. So today I’m trying to change up my strategy for the whole season, just trying to have a good last (season).”
The pair were in the Top 5 the entire race and Hotek led Wilkins most of the race. However, Wilkins passed Hotek in the last 400 meters and held her off at the finish.
Wilkins said she’s run at the course enough that she knows when to turn it on, but on Saturday she was a little surprised at the end of the race.
“It was a really good race,” Wilkins said. “That straightaway (at the end) was longer than I imagined. So when I started my kick-off of the hill, I was like, ‘this is still going.’ So I have to use the rest of the breath that I have and kick because it’s all about the end and the start.”
One runner who knew the course inside and out was Central’s Jaclyn Cardoso. The sophomore finished 10th in the race in a time of 20:10.
Cardoso said she was pleased with her race in the 16-team meet.
“There was a lot of great teams here (Saturday),” she said. “The whole thing was really fast paced and I think everyone did great. And I feel great about how I did. I’m proud of myself and I think I did good, and I think my team did good.”
James Wood’s Mackenzie Konyar won the girls race in a time of 19:13, followed by Clarke County’s Skylar Bragg (19:19).
James Wood won the team meet with 58 points, followed by Millbrook (73).
Warren County was third with 100 points. The Wildcats only have eight runners on the team, and had just seven for Saturday’s race.
Warren County sophomore Whitley Doyon finished 13th (20:15.50) and she said she didn’t feel well during the race, but knew she had to do it for her team.
“I didn’t feel real good, but you just kind of push through it,” Doyon said. “As long as you know your teammates are behind, you’re going to do good.”
Warren County coach Mike Tanner said he was pleased with his girls squad.
“We ran seven (girls) today and for the seven that ran we didn’t have one bad performance,” Tanner said. “They just all ran so well. I couldn’t be more proud of what they did.”
Sherando finished fourth (107 points) led by Molly Robinson (11th, 20:14) and Olivia Couillard (12th, 20:15.28).
Warriors’ coach Megan Roberts said it was a good first race for her girls team.
“I think (depth’s) kind of a strength for us,” Roberts said. “We’ve got a good pack. We got more depth than we’ve had in the past, a lot more depth, which is great because they can kind of work together with the pack. And that was part of the race plan (Saturday). The first mile was a solid pack and then they kind of spread out from there.”
Roberts said she was also proud of the way Emily Petsko ran. The senior was Sherando’s third runner and finished 25th in a time of 21:34.
Central placed fifth as a team (135 points). Central sophomore Aliyah Kibler finished 20th in a time of 21:08.
“I’m pleased with the girls,” Central coach Melissa Wright said. “I think they’re going to do fairly well throughout the season. We’re fairly young and we’re not extremely deep on the girls side at the moment. But I think as time goes on and as some of the younger ones develop that we’ll improve as time goes on.”
Skyline placed seventh as a team with 159 points.
Strasburg finished ninth, led by freshman Eva Long (32nd, 21:56). Strasburg coach Jeff Rudy said he was missing a few runners due to SATs and illness, but he was still pleased with how the team did, especially Long.
“We’re happy to see Eva Long’s development as a runner,” Rudy said. “Her first (5,000-meter) race as a freshman. She’s sort of jumping into the deep water with some great competition from Millbrook and James Wood and Central and a lot of these other schools in the valley.”