By Zach Smart
For many local area cross-country teams, the wait for that first big meet seems longer than the jail time to be served by Bernard Madoff. The torrential downpour and seemingly endless rain from last week has relegated most teams to indoor practices.
Now, the Gettysburg Invitational should be a solid indicator of if these harriers’ cardio levels, endurance and long distance shape is up to par.
Since many of these runners log miles all year around and race competitively around the clock, this could be a PR test. Gettysburg’s course has portions that are Kansas-flat and require a strategic approach to cash in on them.
With the way the race bottlenecks and suddenly goes downward, a runner must adjust their pace to the course.
-Last year, Littlestown’s Xavier Sauvageau (he of the rich running bloodline) overcame cramps from the previous race to churn out a personal best time of 16:58. Sauvageau entered 2011 in prime shape, seeking to eclipse that personal record. He shredded through the downhill portion and opened up his stride midway through the race.
“That was where he established his personal best,” said Littlestown coach Dan Lawrence, who spent part of last week working to filter water out of his basement. “He crept under 17 minutes in that race and he really mastered that course well.”
Littlestown struggled mightily with their numbers, which always prevents crucial factors such as pack running and scoring. The numbers don’t get much better this year, as only five runners have come out.
-Do not sleep on Delone Catholic’s Nate Poole. Poole was a beast amongst boys in Delone’s season-opening meet, coasting to a first place finish in 17:37. He arrived at the first practice in great shape, which is attributed to the extra mileage he logged over the summer. Poole’s smoking-hot 17:37 captured first place by a whopping 50 second margin.
The reigning YAIAA III champion Squires lost a bit of its star power but return considerable strength in numbers. Veteran coach Scotty Watt traditionally has a tough non-league schedule. Timing is an issue. The quickness in which the infusion of new blood could fill the leadership void left by since-graduated Chris Sauvageau and the other will likely determine how well Delone Catholic fares.
South Western could turn some heads this season. The heavily junior-laden squad is led by the trio of Ryan Hertzog, Josh King, and Jaden Sanders
Hertzog surfaced as one of the elite runners in the Hanover area. The harrier finished first place in dual meets against 11 teams. The sight of Hertzog darting towards the front pack, picking off a slew of harriers and then sprinting out the final 100 meters with a full head of steam was a familiar one.
Fairfield could make some headlines this season. The Knights, like Littlestown, face a deficiency in numbers. Nevertheless, the front pack is stacked. Front runner John Roan clocked a 17:39 in his first-ever 5K. His leaps-and-bounds progression from spring track season is notable.