Weekly Feature

2017-10-04 / Sports

Lady Red Devil harriers win McQuaid’s sophomore race

Clarence dominated the field in the Sophomore Girls race at Saturday’s annual McQuaid Cross-Country Invitational, finishing with the lowest team points total (28) by any school in any of the 26 races held on the day. Team members who competed in that specific race for the Lady Red Devils included, from left, first row, Makenzie Marfurt, Lynnie Wallen; second row, Maggie Danzer, Camryn Cwiklinski, Lauren Biegner, Sarah Beckage, Anna Ridge, Bianca Burgess, Emma Scarantine, Alexis Dimitroff and Katie Bobowicz. Clarence dominated the field in the Sophomore Girls race at Saturday’s annual McQuaid Cross-Country Invitational, finishing with the lowest team points total (28) by any school in any of the 26 races held on the day. Team members who competed in that specific race for the Lady Red Devils included, from left, first row, Makenzie Marfurt, Lynnie Wallen; second row, Maggie Danzer, Camryn Cwiklinski, Lauren Biegner, Sarah Beckage, Anna Ridge, Bianca Burgess, Emma Scarantine, Alexis Dimitroff and Katie Bobowicz. Eleven members of Clarence’s girls cross-country team represented the Lady Red Devils in the Sophomore Girls race at Saturday’s 53rd annual McQuaid Invitational in Rochester, and thanks to the strong efforts of the top five of those 11 runners, Clarence was able to bring home a championship trophy.

Clarence dominated the field in the Sophomore Girls race, finishing with a team total of 28 points, which was the lowest by any team in any of the 26 races. The Lady Red Devils were led by Makenzie Marfurt’s winning effort, but it was because the scoring group — which included Maggie Danzer (third), Sarah Beckage (sixth), Lauren Biegner (eighth) and Anna Ridge (16th) — had a very small gap between one another that the victory was achieved.

Lynnie Wallen and Camryn Cwiklinski placed 22nd and 27th, respectively, as all seven medaled by placing in the top 35 in the race.

Katie Bobowicz, Lexi Dimitroff, Bianca Burgess and Emma Scarantine also had solid efforts for themselves.

“They all really went into the race with a great attitude and were ready to accomplish their goals,” coach Justin Weldon said. “They are very driven, dedicated young ladies and a real joy to coach. All week they talked about winning at McQuaid and they all stepped up to have big races, with almost all of them running huge PRs. This group never shies away from hard work and their results are indicative of that. I think this race was a huge leap in the right direction for them and really showed them the level they are capable of running at.”

Following the Sophomore Girls race was the Medium/Large School Varsity Girls Unseeded AA-2 race, where Clarence’s contingent finished 10th out of the 38 schools overall in that race. More than 300 runners overall took part in the Unseeded AA-2 race, with Clarence’s group led by Cristina Ray and Audrey Pryll. Emily Gay trimmed more than a minute off her previous personal best.

Another Lady Red Devil having a big day was junior Sam Evans. Competing in the first cross-country race of her career, Evans ran a time that was just over 21 minutes to start her career in dramatic fashion.

“Emily has been putting in the work since day one and now she’s continuing to reap the rewards of that dedication,” Weldon said. “Sam looked like a seasoned veteran out there and ran a very strategic race. It was great to see and everyone was happy for her.”

The boys’ day, meanwhile, started off with Varsity Large Schools Unseeded AAA race, where all seven of the Red Devils turned in personal records in running great races to push the team to a third-place finish out of 23 schools in the race. Grey Conover finished second overall in what Weldon called “a very exciting race,” while Dan Daddario, Drew Biegner, Hunter Reed and John Insinna all finished within 10 seconds of one another. Seth Maurer and Nate Lange were not far behind.

“They ran all out and pushed one another, and we had closer gaps than ever before because of that,” Weldon said. “As a coach you can’t ask for anything more than that. It was exciting to see them coming through one by one and they were all ecstatic about their times. They elevate one another, and we’re always talking about bringing your teammates up with you and they do just that. Even more, they got better as a team and took another step towards their goals. This group got an amazing big-race experience and handled it very well. I feel this will prepare them well for bigger meets throughout the year.”

In the JV Boys Large School race, Clarence saw 17 of its runners record a personal best while the team finished fifth out of 30 squads in the field. Walid Bibi finished fifth overall, breaking 17 minutes for the 3-mile course. Nick Perry and Ryan Rajapakse both trimmed more than a minute off their previous best times, while Keller Krupa ran a great race as the fourth man. Josh Martin rounded out the scoring.

“These guys all stepped up in a big way and were really fired up about the opportunity to run in the prestigious meet,” Weldon said. “The JV contingent all ran well and looked like a varsity squad out there. They really helped increase our depth and helped show the strength of our team. The rest of the team was very excited to see them all perform so well. I think they all have a sense of accomplishment, as they should. They are all a part of the program and an important one at that.”

Clarence returned to action Tuesday by hosting Lancaster, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Red Devils have a weekend off from invitational action this week, which should leave them well rested for Tuesday’s league dual finale at Orchard Park.

“We didn’t have the cross-country fall-like weather for awhile, but we just had to keep working, stay patient and remain focused through the heat,” Weldon said. “We knew as long as we took care of the things we could control — our attitude, effort and training — that we would have a big day as a program when the weather broke. That’s exactly what happened at McQuaid. We’ve had days at McQuaid where one group does better than another and then other years where its reversed, but Saturday was an awesome day for the entire program. That would have to be the best part about the day; it was all about celebrating the hard work of the athletes and the improvement of the team.”

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