By Myles Feingold-Black
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Despite adverse race conditions last Thursday at Dulaney High School, Blair captured third place in both the boys and girls 4A North Regional races.
Coming into the race, Blair was confident that they would advance to the state championship, which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Hereford High School.
“[The training] has been really good. We’re in the shape of our lives, and we’re going to qualify for states,” said junior Joel Simpson.
Going into the race, senior Team Captain Leah Kannan felt confident about the girls’ ability to work as a team in order to secure a state-qualifying placement.
“The girls have been running in their groups really well and getting better with pack running,” she said.
The girls’ team managed to keep a tight spread throughout the race, and all seven runners finished in the top 25. Freshman Alexa Avila led the pack and placed fourth overall.
The girls’ victory set the tone for the Blair boys as they stepped up to the starting line.
Blair narrowly edged out Sherwood High School to claim third in the boys race, with two runners, seniors Gabe Worthington and Esrom Weldegiorgis, placing in the top 15.
The muddy conditions for the 5000m course did not lend themselves to setting personal records, so Blair coaches Anna and Angelique Bosse encouraged their runners to focus on placement instead.
“I always want them to do their best individually,” Bosse said, “but today in particular is all about getting the team to qualify for states. They’re not going to get personal bests today because of the weather.”
The Blair runners mentioned the importance of their summer training in helping them to qualify for States.
Since the team doesn’t train together for most of the summer, each runner committed to a regiment of preseason workouts.
“I feel like our training has been really good this year,” said senior Ryan Temple. “Definitely better than last year. We got our mileage up and I feel like that has been showing this season.”
But the state championship won’t be the end of the road for Blair. They plan on running in the highly-competitive Nike Cross Regionals Southeast on Nov. 30.
With hundreds of training miles logged this season alone, Blair’s cross country team feels ready to not only place well at future meets, but to also set plenty of personal records to finish off their successful fall season.
All photos by Myles Feingold-Black.