Coach Gleich writes...
Proving that the weather in St. Louis certainly is changeable, Thursday’s meet was run in high humidity at 91 whereas the Forest Park race, just five days earlier, was run in low humidity and 62. The temperature swing and the short rest period have an effect on all runners. Fortunately for the field, nice puffy clouds swept up and shielded the athletes from sun during most of the race.
The Priory Red Sea had drawn lanes 1 and 16, but our overflow spread out behind most of the other teams. We accounted for 40% of the field with almost 110 athletes entered. Slight changes in the first right turn altered the strategy at the start, so our Varsity runners elected lane 1. With Varsity and JV runners all starting at the same time, a wave shot off the starting line with the gun. By the time that the athletes had swept around the field on the first loop, Jake and Thomas were both in the top ten running strong. Luke was 17th and Kyle, Alex, Anthony and Greg were packed together between 25 and 35. For this race we were without George O’Sullivan, Drew Sewall (both soccer) and Andrew Latuda (sick), so packing was essential.
The field was led by two Whitfield runners and a Clayton runner, but St. Clair, Clayton, and Orchard Farm all had runners up in the top ten. A quick circuit of the sport fields for the second time saw the athletes spread out considerably as they approached the mile mark. Jake hit in 5:17 with Thomas only a few seconds behind. Five more Priory runners were there by 5:40, jostling for position. From the mile to the two mile the runners race through the woods along the lake out of sight. There are no significant hills until you encounter the gradual 200 meter hill just before the two mile marker. From there it is a quick down followed by a quick up just before you find the lake staring you in the face. A lot can happen back in the woods as leaders try to “stand on it” when they round turns. Gelber from Whitfield and Cormier from Clayton were neck and neck by the time they rounded the lake.
Priory runners had fared well in the woods with Jake a solid 3rd, Thomas in 7th and Luke in 13th after a strong move. Kyle, Anthony and Alex, still running together, passed the coaches at the 3700 meter mark in 21st, 24th and 25th. Greg Rolwes, Joseph Pollnow and Jacob Conard were not far behind. You again lose sight of the runners as they encounter the second long, gradual uphill. It is not until 4300 meters that they emerge from the woods and retrace the starting loop in reverse. You could tell that four teams were in contention as Whitfield, Clayton, St. Clair and Priory all had runners sprinkled in the top 25 places. Runners are able to see everything that is happening in front of them. Fortunately for Priory, that worked to our advantage. Our runners all ratcheted it up a gear into the home stretch. When they hit the finish line, Luke had gained three places as had Kyle, Anthony and Alex.
With two Whitfield runners in the top five we knew the score would be close. And so it was, with Priory taking the first place trophy with a score of 59 to 66. It was not just the top runners who had run well, though. There were 17 new PR’s on a hot, muggy day. Our top seven were: Jake (3) 17:39, Thomas (7) 17:55, Luke (10) 18:20, Kyle (18) 18:42, Anthony and Alex neck and neck (21 & 22) in 18:49, and Greg (31) 19:17. Our next eight runners—Joseph Pollnow, Jacob Conard, Brian Koch, Chris Hedlesky, Will Steger, Dominic Kolthoff, Robbie Frei, and John Krewet consisted of four freshmen and three sophomores, with five of them running new PR’s. The top five teams in the thirteen team boys field were (1) Priory 59, (2) Whitfield (66), (3) St. Clair (84), (4) Clayton (115) and (5) Lutheran South (163).
This week it is on to the Hancock Invitational, one of the oldest races in the St. Louis area. It will be a delightful tune up for our own Invitational on the Oct. 3.