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Few days (if any) can match what happened this past Saturday for R.I. cross-country athletes. Down in North Carolina, the smallest state may have made the biggest impact at the Great American X-C Festival. La Salle Academy, ranked No. 2 according to MileSplit's national poll, captured the featured Race of Champions event with a slim eight-point victory over second-place Mariatta, Ga. If that wasn't enough, the girls' team took runner-up honors in the ROC race and the boys of Bishop Hendricken took the top prize in the seeded Invitational race. About a 1,000 miles north of the Great American,Cumberland earned the spotlight at Maine's Festival of Champions. For the fourth time, the Clipper boys copped the team title. The opening act for the Blue and White occured in the girls' event where junior Amy Laverty broke the tape a winner. Teamwise, the Lady Clippers were second overall. Lastly, defending state champion Emma McMillan of Barrington, achieved gold in Thetford, Vt., with a dominating triumph at the Wood Trails Run.
While our fellow Floridian’s were trudging through the mud soaked courses, Bishop Kenny, Creekside, Ft. Myers, Holy Trinity, and Winter Park got to run in some perfect weather in Cary, North Carolina. The temperature was low, the course was dry, and the surface was fast, an absolutely perfect day for cross country in a beautiful state.
On Saturday, Virginia athletes charged into North Carolina descending on the Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary. With the motivating sounds of djembe drums in the background, Virginians convincingly captured both individual and girls’ team titles in the premier Race of Champions.
La Salle boys captured featured Race of Champions event at Great American X-C Festival, while girls take second in their race. Hendricken earns team title in seeded event.
Hatters finish sixth in Race of Champions event and also win one of three other varisty races.
LaSalle Academy (RI) conquered a diverse and talented field, making a strong statement to all the other teams in the New England area.
Meet Directors (via MileSplit)
Kentucky's Top finishers and teams at Great American in North Carolina.
The Loudoun (VA) junior pulled away to win by almost 30 seconds in one of the biggest meets in the country.
With the exception of a short-handed US #2 La Salle Academy boys of Rhode Island able to hold onto the team title, it was a complete Virginia take over over the top seeded Race of Champions at Great American with US #11 Andrew Hunter running the nation's fastest 5K time as the boys champ in 14:46, while sophomore Libby Davidson (US #25) won her second big race at WakeMed with a new 17:06 PR. Meanwhile, the US #7 Blacksburg girls crushed the team field including US #2 Saratoga Springs winning by a margin of 49 points with a 18:17 team average.
Who will step up to fill the shoes of the senior boys that graduated after last year's Wendy's and Great American?
10/4 weekend coverage
We look ahead to the October 4th weekend ahead in the latest "Meets on Tap" with North Carolina drawing most of the national attention on Saturday with Great American and Wendy's, while the Desert Twilight Festival on Friday in Arizona will have a great individual matchup between Katie Rainsberger and Dani Jones with fast times expected. MileSplit will be doing it LIVE with a stream of Florida's largest meet in the flrunners.com Invitational, while the first state meet of the season will be up in the far Northwest with the Alaska state championships led by Allie Ostrander and Levi Thomet.
Studs like Phillip Hall and Ryen Frazier take on athletes from twelve different states, while cool weather and the rolling course should lead to some fast times.
From West Viriginia to Florida, there's plenty of talent available to make the "second" of the big varisity races as good as just about any invitational out there.
Deja vu: Philip Hall and Libby Davidson won at WakeMed two weekends ago, and they're back for an even bigger race.
Nearly all of these top finishers from 2013 have graduated. Will that set back the boys' competition for 2014, or will new leaders step up?