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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Knights Notch 7th at Muddy First to the Finish Invite in Peoria

The Knights raced very well despite the muddy conditions to earn 7th place overall in a field of 58 teams and more than 800 Class 2A runners.  Matt Richtman earned a 5th place medal, by clocking in at 15:44. It is estimated that the course ran about 30-40 seconds slower than normal due to the deep mud and sloppy conditions of the torn up Detweiller Park course.

Team scoring was completed 1:41 later, when four Knights finished within 10 seconds of one another. Junior Sam Webster led freshman Daniel Occhipinti around the 3 mile course to place 74th and 78th, and senior Andrew Kantola paired with junior Henry Nosek to finish our total with 87th and 88th places respectively.  Sophomores Jacob Wielgos and Aidan Lodwig also tightened their gaps to place 2 seconds apart, and in the top 150. Peyton Heiser finished the day just two seconds off his personal best on the State Championship course, and Noah Duffey put in a strong comeback performance as he returned to our lineup for the first time in a year.

Ben Purcell and Jacob Petrik finished in a dead heat after three miles, at 19:03. Drake Nemec and Patrick Riedel both set personal bests for a full varsity race, despite the sloppy conditions, which is quite a feat.  Kyle Orczykowski chipped in a terrific race, and finished in the top half of all competitors. CJ Girolamo and Dalton Klingensmith demonstrated good pack running by pairing up to start a run of Knights into the chute. CJ started the surge at 19:57, followed by Dalton at 20:01, who was shortly trailed by senior Anthony Messina at 20:07, and then freshman Seth Nosek who rocked a 20:13.

Freshman Blake Finn broke 21:00 in his second three mile race of his young career, and David Babula did the same at 20:57. Kyle Wells battled through injury in order to run on the famed Detweiller course, and finished the day with a solid 565th place despiate the pain. Tony Abruzzo was right on Kyle's heels, finishing in 21:05.  Kevin Jablonski set a personal best time at Detweiller when he finished in 22:01.  Freshman Scotty Dunne also running in his second three mile race has shown great heart and commitment, today running sub 8:00 at 7:41 pace.  Ryan Crimmins also committed to racing despite foot pain, and completed his day at 23:20. Gutsy leadership like this goes a long way in the eyes of younger runners that see you can push through some aches and pains in racing.

Jack Holder was near PR mile pace on the day, in the slop and mud. Senior Cole Rutter was able to race for the first time this season and continues to fight through adversity while giving his very best. We are very proud of Cole, and his new freshman teammate Garrett Woods, who learned how grueling and tough the sport of cross country is when the easy way out is to stop, but the hardest part is overcoming that urge to quit.

In a loaded field of ranked teams, the Knights did some very good things today. Having a single digit performance up front was clearly helpful in team scoring. Having the rest of the scoring pack just :10 apart was another positive sign.  Getting some runners back to health and in the lineup will continue to be a boost for the group, as we try to surge forward, close our gap between 1 and 2, and strive for bigger things at the end of the season.
Special thanks to our KXC Families for hosting a delicious picnic following the meet. We loved it!

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