Ph-lying phenoms

The Boys Cross Country has had a dominant season highlighted by big wins in the league and high finishes at invitational events.

Photo courtesy of The Enchiridion

     

After an intense summer of training, the LM boys cross country team lined up on the start line in September, ready to race. The Aces opened up the season on September 14 against the top teams in the Central League, including Haverford, ranked number eight in the state coming into the season. With blistering heat and a hilly course, fast times were not expected. However, Sarem Khan ’24 and Simon Schmeider ’22 both managed to break 17:00 on the course. Khan took his first high school victory while others, like Alex Bullard ’22, Drew Gannon ’23, and David Litvin ’22, were not far behind. Overall, the team placed five runners in the top ten and comfortably came out with the team victory.

      The Aces stepped it up a notch in their first major race of the season. The PIAA Foundations Invitational is a critical early season event, where top teams from across the state come to test their legs on the state championship course. On a muddy day, the seven varsity runners started off controlled, racing through the halfway mark in eighth place as a team. As the finish line drew closer, the Aces picked up the pace, placing their top five runners in the top fifty. Litvin led the charge while Bullard followed close behind. When the dust settled and all was done, the team came out third on the podium, losing only to top ranked teams, North Allegheny and Downingtown East. This impressive performance catapulted the team up the rankings all the way to fifth in the state.

      The Aces had little time to rest as they prepared for the Paul Short Invitational the following weekend. The varsity seven came into the race missing Schmieder but set their sights high nonetheless. The Paul Short course is renowned as one of the fastest in the country, and times did not disappoint on that Friday afternoon. Khan broke the LM sophomore record with a blazing time of 15:37 to earn twelfth place Meanwhile, Bullard trailed close behind for thirteenth place. Gannon and Litvin also finished strong, running in the low 16’s and setting personal bests. The rest of the varsity seven, including Jacob Krimsky ’22, Alex Goonewardene ’23, and Krzysztof Jarocha ’22, surged home as a pack in the seventeens. Despite being a man down, the boys took home another third place as a team, losing only to Pennsylvania’s number three, Hempfield, and Maryland’s top ranked, Loyola-Blakefield High School. After edging out Downingtown East by just one point in this race, the Aces became the number one ranked team in the district and number four  in the state.

      The team now sets its sights on the Central League Championships on Saturday, October 16th, where they are expected to dominate the team scoring and contest for the individual win. After that, their district rivals, Downingtown East, will await them at the District One Championships on October 29, where the two titans will clash in a battle of inches for the win. This will also be the Aces’ last chance to set some personal records on a fast course before returning to the hilly state course the following Saturday.

      On November 6 the team will hear the gun go off one last time as they contest the perennial North Allegheny and La Salle College High School for the coveted state championship. A podium finish is certainly achievable for the LM squad, which would improve on their previous 7th place  performance from the meet two years ago.. The team looks forward to challenging for the state title in a race where every second can make a difference.