Just like the Frosh / Soph squad traveled to the York Invitational this past Monday, a select group of 23 juniors and seniors trekked to Culver Academy in Indiana to test their meddle against teams we ordinarily do not race. The result was a 5th place finish for the Varsity squad and a complete domination for our open, or "reserve," crew.
Without Nicolas Dovalovsky leading the way in the Varsity race, the 6 remaining competitors chose to pack up and take on the race in a group effort. Quinn Kennedy led the way through the first mile, pacing the group at 5:25 on the water-logged course. Aidan Stone then began his move through the masses, eventually moving up approximately 40 places to finish in 15th for 17:25. Kennedy was next in at 28th place for 17:42. Leif Anderson and Vasant Fong held together for the last two miles, finishing just seconds apart - Anderson at 38th for 17:53 and Fong at 40th for 17:54. Stephen Smilie (50th, 18:01) and Luke Suman (53rd, 18:04) rounded out the day. The weather and the course conditions were definitely a challenge, but the commitment to the pack and one another throughout the race was the difference maker and a sign of progress with this team.
The "Reserve" race closed out our day at Culver, and these men raced like anything but reserves. Of the top 6 places, Neuqua walked away with 5! And of the top 30 racers receiving medals or ribbons, 13 members of our team placed!!! A special shout out has to go to Luke Mennecke for executing his race plan to perfection and winning in 18:08. After the race all he could talk about was how much faster he knows he can be. Sam Stuart was a man on a mission on Saturday. His intensity before the race was palpable and a true example of getting "dialed in" mentally. He came away with the runner-up position at 18:16. Finally, Alex Majus took a year away from running and decided to rejoin the us this season. With every race, he gets better and better. He was 6th overall in 18:37, and we could not be happier for him. He has a special talent, and we believe he can be a major contributor down the road.
The Neuqua Valley squad returns to action this coming Saturday, October 4th, for the Lockport "Locktoberfest" Invitational. And the Naperville Twilight Invitational is just around the corner as well - Wednesday, October 9th, at Naperville North High School.
Full results of the Culver Invitational can be found HERE!!!