Cross country season begins with three meets

The Patriots set up for one of the biggest cross country invitationals in the state  on Sept. 18.

Photo by Owen Lomotan

The Patriots set up for one of the biggest cross country invitationals in the state on Sept. 18.

The cross country team has had a busy start to the season with meets at Whitman, Northwood, and an invitational called “Bull Run”. The first of these meets was at Whitman and also against Walter Johnson on Sept. 8. The second meet was at Northwood on Sept. 15. The third meet was the team’s first big Invitational called “Bull Run” on Sept. 18,  in Baltimore County at Hereford High School. 

In the first race at Whitman, Whitman placed first, Walter Johnson placed second, and Wootton placed third. The Whitman home course featured a mixed variety of terrains that included a forest path, an open field, and several hills with not much passing room to spare. While Coach Kellie Redmond wasn’t able to make the meet, Coach Jacob Buxton was able to fill in and give the team much-needed support. “What I did well was go in with a good mindset. I knew I had to stay positive the whole race in order to have a good pace pickup at the end and come in the place I wanted,” junior Maya Gottesman said. “I can improve on my pacing per mile. 3.1 can be a lot at a fast pace, so learning when to speed up is definitely on my list.” 

Only sophomore Nate Riker finished in the boys’ top 10 overall for all three schools with a time of 19:38. Maya Gottesman (22:08) and junior Rebecca Vasconez (22:33) finished in the girls’ top 10 overall for all three schools. Both the girls’ and boys’ races were jam-packed with runners of all grades, but the boys had slightly more people at 102, while the girls had 99.

I’m confident we’ll just keep getting better as we settle into rhythm.”

— Justin Wang

In the second race at Northwood, Northwood placed first and Wootton placed second. The Northwood home course started with a wide field,  then transitioned to a closed forest path that lasted for more than half the race. Coach Redmond and Coach Buxton were both able to attend this meet. “The Northwood course was tough. I didn’t have a great meet but we definitely had strong showings from the team,” senior Justin Wang said. “Going forward, I’m confident we’ll just keep getting better as we settle into rhythm.”

This time, four runners finished in the boys’ top 10 overall for both schools and they were Riker (18:45), Wang (19:05), senior Surya Udayshankar (19:40), and senior Jordan Zhang (20:28). Eight out of the top 10 in the girls race were Patriots. They were Gottesman (22:12), sophomore Victoria Ketzler (22:36), Vasconez (23:04), junior Ella White (23:34), junior Julianne Yao (23:36), senior Nima Munshi (23:55), senior Mia Mikowski (24:00), and senior Karina Hafeez (24:01). 

At the Bull Run Invitational, girls’ varsity placed third out of 18, girls’ JV placed sixth out of 20, boys’ varsity placed twelfth out of 24, and boys’ JV placed nineteenth out of 32. What stood out about this meet was the fact that three varsity girls earned top 15 awards: Gottesman (9th), Ketzler (12th), and Vasconez (13th). The JV girls were led by junior Jessica Winson, the varsity boys by sophomore Nate Riker, and the JV boys by freshman David See. 

The team’s first home meet is Sept. 21 vs Blair.