by Tom Utescher

The Germantown Friends School Tigers extended their longstanding dominance of the Friends Schools League cross country scene for yet another season, as both the boys and girls teams rolled to convincing victories last Tuesday at the 2012 championship meet.

It was the 11th consecutive league title for both the boys’ squad, which scored 17 points to runner-up Friends Central’s 47, and for the GFS girls, who outdistanced their closest rival, Westtown School, 24-58. FSL meet host George School wound up with third place finishes from both its male (102 points) and female (80) franchises.

In the boys’ race, Germantown slotted all of its five scorers into the first six places, and even had its sixth and seventh man finish in the top 10. Sami Aziz, who placed 21st three days before in the Eastern States Championship division at the prestigious Manhattan Invitational, blitzed George School’s Bucks County circuit in 15 minutes, 52.1 seconds to claim the FSL individual championship while setting a new course record.

Fellow senior Lyle Wistar, who’d finished 24th up in New York, was second for the Tigers on Tuesday with a time of 16:56.3, while classmate Henry Shah commandeered third place at the FSL’s in 17:08.8.

After Friends Central 12th grader Ian Lopez interrupted the Tiger train by placing fourth (17:21.1), the scoring for GFS was rounded out by senior Paul Maxson (5th; 17:23.3) and junior James Finney (6th; 17:26.5). The number six runner for Germantown, senior Ben Stassen, checked in eighth (17:33.8), and junior Andy Bugos was 10th (17:49.9).

Only one other team was represented in the top 10 as Friends Central’s Lopez was followed home by junior Carlos Price-San in seventh place, and senior Nathan Willis, in the ninth spot.
The Germantown Friends girls graduated three strong seniors from last year’s team, but have rebounded nicely. Last

Tuesday, current senior Eliza Lukens-Day crossed the line first in 19:24.1, exactly 10 seconds ahead of the runner-up from Westtown, fellow 12th grader Natalie McLaughlin. Another GFS upperclassman, Isabel Goldstein, gave the Tigers a third-place finish in 19:56.6.

No other seniors were logged in for more than a minute-and-a-half. Fourth and fifth went to a pair of freshmen, George School’s Jerrica Bauer (20:08.7) and the Tigers’ Caitlin Harrity (20:09.0). Westtown sophomore Lilian Domenick separated Harrity from her GFS classmate Alice Wistar (Lyle’s sister), who snapped up seventh place (20:18.1).

Junior Alison Love was the fifth scorer for the winners, eighth in 20:33.7, while Brigit Andersson, a sophomore but a first-year cross country competitor, placed ninth in 20:38.3.

Completing the top 10 was Friends Central 10th-grader Hannah Szapary, and the seventh runner for GFS, junior Arielle Frank, took 11th place overall with a time of 20:58.8.

The male and female Tigers, who use the Belmont Plateau course in Fairmount Park for their home dual meets, will back on that familiar footpath this Saturday for the Pa. Independent Schools Championship. The GFS girls won the title last fall, and the boys are two-time defending champions. The rival Inter-Ac League will have three solid teams entered in each race, and that should make for a riveting Rumble on the Ridge.

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