PA Boys Cross Country Looks Strong with Quick Time Trials

After spending their summers furiously training for the fall season, and, in many cases, racking up 50-plus mile weeks, the Boys in Blue were eager to test their strength together as a team. That opportunity came to them this Saturday, when a total of 23 runners ran their first time trial of the season. While the time trial is not a definitive statement about how the team will perform this season, it does show the team’s readiness to compete in its first two invitationals, Canterbury and Manchester. Said Chris Donais ’05, “The signs this year are good, with times in the top seven comparable to last year’s Canterbury champions and second seven times significantly better than last year’s squad.” Visiting Princeton over the weekend, front-runner Josh Wolfe ’04 completed his own time trial Thursday, finishing with a time-trial record of 16:27. Coach Jon Stableford ’63 took the opportunity to turn his race into a speed workout for the rest of the team, with each runner hitching onto Wolfe for a mile apiece. With Wolfe gone for the time-trial, the initial lead was left to Captain Adam Kapor ’04, John Freker ’04 and Donais. Kapor led the harriers out fast on the Great Lawn and then handed the lead over to Donais and Freker before reclaiming it in the Sanctuary. Roughly two miles in, Kapor led the runners, cruising through the downhill portion, followed by Freker. The next three runners, Donais, Jon Hillman ’05, and JJ Feigenbaum ’04, trailed closely behind, in that order. Feigenbaum caught Donais on the hill, and they made their rounds on the Great Lawn together. Kapor reached the finish line first, completing the 3.1 mile course in 17:15. The time is a solid early season mark for the Captain. “Adam really ran a great race, even it was just a time trial,” said Feigenbaum. “He’s going to be key in bringing the whole pack closer to Josh up at the front.” Freker came in next, with a time of 17:38, followed by a succession of five runners finishing within nine seconds of each other, Feigenbaum (18:00), Donais (18:00), Will Riordan ’05 (18:06), Jon Weigel ’05 (18:07) and Justin Lee ’06 (18:09). In the 5-8 spots, pack running was the trend of the day. At the log cabin field, a group consisting of Riordan, Weigel, Lee, and Sean Hamilton ’06 worked off each other to make it through the downhill stretch in good time. The harriers then pushed out of Sanctuary and made for the finish, posting times far superior to those of previous second-seven time trials. Hamilton came in at 18:29, pursued by Hillman, who ran an excellent first two miles, but whose struggle with the leaders took its toll in the third mile. Seventeen seconds later Tom Church ’05 finished, running the course in 18:53, a full 2 minutes faster than his last year’s time trial. Tom’s improvement is indicative of the kind of training that this year’s cross country team has put in, as nearly everyone showed improvement from last year’s time trial in this early marker of ability. Following Church was a trio of senior runners, all finishing within a 17 second span. Logan Patrick ’04, followed by new senior Dan Quinlan ’04 and Darren Defreeuw ’04 , came in at 19:09, 19:21, and 19:26 respectively. The most admirable run of the day was surely that of Dan Serna ’04. A strong four-year veteran, Serna ran with a calf injury and endured the pain instead of dropping out. His time of 20:00 shows the dedication to the team that he has demonstrated in his years moving up the ranks. Once recovered, Serna is sure to be a player in the top of the team. These noteworthy results show that the team has the potential to be a top competitor in the league, now it’s all up to their continued dedication to training and willingness to give it their all on race day.