Your Swain Maroon Devils Varsity XC teams traveled to A.C. Reynolds in Buncombe County on Wednesday, August 30th for the Rocket Chase Race. This is a special race covering just two miles but the format is unique. Each team starts with their number 7 runner racing each other, 20 seconds later the number 6’s leave, 20 seconds later number 5’s and so on until each team’s number 1 runner leaves. In essence, the number 1’s get to chase every other athlete in the field. This race allowed Swain to race against the top 4A and 3A teams in the region, including the defending boys 2A State Champions.
The JV’s girl’s went first. This term JV is not actually what they were, but for the race purposes, JV’s meant anyone who was not in your top 7 for this particular day. Our 4 JV’s were Julianna Meraz-Quijada, who finished 14th overall with a time of 15:16.1. Next was Carden Oetting who finished 19th with a time of 15:27.6, followed by Jany Echeverria who finished 38th in a time of 17:02. Our last JV runner was a first time racer, Zoey Littlejohn who finished in a time of 28:53.
The Varsity girls team finished 3rd overall in the race. Our top 7 is different than from our previous races as right now the team is very fluid and positions may change depending on previous races and practices. This was our first Chase Race. Out first out of the box was Kiersten Cucumber, her first varsity race, she was followed 20 seconds later by Emily Gray Stargell, in her first varsity race, then Audrey Monteith, Lily Bjerkness, Marden Harvey, Angel Lomelli, and finally Annie Lewis. Kiersten started fast, and that 20 second second staggered was quickly made up by Emily Gray who was fast out of the blocks. By the one mile mark, Annie and Angel had made up the difference between most of the groups. Emily was pressing the pace on the first pack out, Marden, Lily, and Audrey were as well making up a lot of time on those who went out before them. The individual final results were:
2nd overall, Annie Lewis 12:39.7. She was only 0.7 seconds off the leader.
7th overall, Angel Lomelli, 13:06.1
19th overall, Lily Bjerkness, 13:45.6
27th overall, Marden Harvey 14:04.1
28th overall, Audrey Monteith 14:04.9
29th overall, Emily Grey Stargell 14:05.2
48th overall, Kiersten Cucumber, 16:51.7
As a team, the women finished 3rd overall out of 12 total teams who were competing in the varsity race. The split between 1-5 was only 1:26. Great teams routinely have a split of less than 1 minute, so to be that close this early in the season is a great thing.
Next came the boys JV. We had 3 new athletes racing in the JV races. Derek Gunter, freshman, led the Swain JV’s with a time of 13:07. He was followed by Ty Eaton, with a time of 16:22 and our brand new runner, Jason Maffett, with a time of 17:24. They ran and competed at such a high level.
The varsity boys came next. Same format as the ladies race. Number 7 was Cory Wolf, then Ross Clapsaddle, Connor Lambert, Abhi Patel, Kane Jones, Connor Brown, and number one was Carl Baird. Cory set an early pace that pushed the rest of our runners. Ross, Connor L., and Abhi were moving in on the lead pack by half mile into the race. By one mile, Connor, Kane, and Carl started moving into the top pack and making moves around those that started in front of them. By the end, our boys finished in this order.
Connor Brown, 10th overall, 10:46
Carl Baird, 13th overall, 11:03
Kane Jones, 17th overall, 11:17
Ross Clapsaddle, 25th, 11:30
Abhi Patel, 27th, 11:45
Connor Lambert, 33rd, 12:01
Cory Wolf, 36th, 12:14
The boys team placed third overall out of a field of 12 teams. Like the girls, the boys placed well within a small group. They finished with a 1:00 split. Again, great teams finish within that 1:00 minute time frame.
Swain’s next race is Sept. 8 in Kernersville. The meet is called Friday Night Lights and is one of the largest meets in North Carolina and in the Southeast. Both teams are competing in the Invitational Races against 29 other teams including the top 5 1A programs in the State. Overall, there will be over 1400 athletes competing next week. Our first race will be at 6:12 p.m. Please support us.