by Tom Utescher
The cross country athletes at Germantown Friends School have gotten in the habit of venturing off to major out-of-state meets over the course of the fall season, and this year is no exception.
Two weekends ago, the top boys and girls on the team travelled south to participate in the 2014 Adidas® Cross Country Challenge, which was staged in Cary, N.C. on September 20. Back home, the rest of the Tigers were not idle, forming subsidiary GFS teams to race at the annual George School Invitational in Newtown.
GFS runners at all different levels of experience and ability produced inspired performances, with more than three-quarters of all of the Tigers who raced establishing new personal records for a 5000-meter event.
Down south, sophomore Nick Dahl chopped one minute and 31 seconds off his previous standard, finishing up in 15:29 to place fourth overall in the championship division race. Junior Grayson Hepp topped his previous best by more than a minute for a 22nd-place outcome in 15:54.
Fellow 11th-graders Gordy Goldstein (16:45) and Zach Schwartz (17:03) were third and fifth among the Tigers, with senior Joe Newmann (16:57) in between them. The five scorers for Germantown produced an average time of 16:25, powering the squad to an eighth-place finish in the team standings. The other two Tigers who competed were sophomore Daniel Stassen (17:12) and Peter Jarka-Sellers (17:36).
Junior Sarah Walker, a track star who is running her first full season of cross country, led the GFS girls as she completed the course in 19:00.80 lopping 1:09 off her previous best and placing 32nd overall in a fast field. The winner, in 17:16, was a sophomore phenom named Libby Davidson, who won the Virginia state championship last fall while still only a freshman.
Tigers senior Brigit Anderson shaved nearly a minute off her former PR to clock in at 19:26. GFS would wind up as the 10th place team, with junior Alice Wistar (19:54), sophomore Griffin Kaulbach (20:07) and senior Arielle Frank (20:48) joining in on the scoring. Junior Caitlin Harrity was sixth on the team in 21:06, while freshman Elise Hockling ran a time of 21:41 in her first 5K race.
Back up north at the George School, runners eight through 14 on the GFS boys’ depth chart managed to achieve a fifth place finish in the varsity race. Two Tigers freshmen each went under 18 minutes, as Zach Goldberg landed in 17th place with a figure of 17:20, while Colin Riley was 29th in 17:55.