Boys' Cross Country - Varsity
vs.
Founders League Tournament
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Hotchkiss School
Placed 122-
On Saturday 11/4, Hotchkiss hosted nine boys’ teams to run in the 2017 Founders’ League Championships. The weather turned out perfectly, as it was a picturesque and crisp fall New England day as the boys stepped to the starting line overlooking the lake. Ben Roberts led the Rhinos, as the captain has done consistently throughout the year. Running a strategic race, Ben opted to let go of the front pack, who went out in a blistering pace, and settled into a very quick 5:21 first mile, but saving some gas for the hills. A few steps behind him was fellow captain, Calvin Palmer, hitting the mile mark at 5:25. Both runners maintained a steady pace through the grueling course, with a steep uphill sweeping up from the lake in the latter half of the second mile, and a long steady incline through the first half of the final mile. Kicking to strong finishes, both seniors earned All-Founders League for their tremendous races, Roberts placing 9th with a time of 17:12, and Palmer 13th with a time of 17:36. The two captains aim to continue their success next week, placing in the top 20 to earn All-New England honors. Lower Mid Joey Nihil had a great race, finishing 3rd for Big Red and 30th overall in a time of 18:19. Nihil went out aggressively, running a 5:30 first mile and showed his grit and toughness over the hilly course, holding off many of the top runners in the league in his first Founder’s League Championships. Nihil proved himself as one of the top young talents in the league, placing in top 10 underclassmen and 4th place for a freshman runner. Seniors Isaac Lennon, Ian Wohlhieter, Barrett Wong, and Philip Huang all had solid performances on the day. Lennon and Wong have been battling through some injuries, but showed up to lift their team to a 5th place finish. Lennon led the senior pack with a tough race, going 18:34. Wohlhieter had a strong finish, kicking past competitors in the final stretch with a time of 18:59, tri-captain Wong a few steps behind him with a time of 19:07. Huang closed out the pack a few moments later, at 19:25. With this great team effort, the Taft boys’ accomplished a few of the goals they set out at the beginning of the season: to improve upon their overall place, their times, and their point total at Founders’ League Championships. Finishing 7th in 2016, the boys improved upon their standing in the league, finishing 5th this year of the nine Founders’ League teams. Additionally, they cut 1:24 off of their team time, despite running a more difficult course, running a combined time of 1:30:40 for their five scoring members, dropping their average pace down to 18:08 (a seventeen second improvement from last year). In the process, they dropped their point total down by 41 points, from last year’s 163, to 122 this year. The boys’ look forward to building off this success at Founders’ as they head to Choate next weekend for New England Championships. The JV squad also found success in the championship race, improving upon an 8th place finish last year, to a 6th place finish this year. Leading the team was Marcus Valenta and Stefan Kim, who both had great races for the Rhinos, pushing each other to finishes of 19:38 and 19:41. Valenta placed 24th in the league, Kim, 25th, helping the JV cut a minute off their average time and 63 points off their total from last year’s championships.