Griffins pg 9 10-3-19

POMFRET — Just four days after a large varsity only invitational at Canterbury, the Pomfret boys’ cross country team traveled to nearby Marianapolis to participate in the 17th annual Marianapolis Invitational. The race permits entire teams to race so with 13 schools (only 12 with the requisite 5 runners required to officially score), there were 155 runners in the boys’ race - likely the largest field for Pomfret this season. For scoring purposes, only the top seven finishers from each team count.
Pomfret brought 15 runners, some in the JV ranks were participating in their first race of the season.
Senior co-captain Jeffrey Gibbs ran a crafty and determined race. Hanging back just a bit at the outset to let the rabbits go, Jeffrey used the early downhill to find a comfortable rhythm before characteristically moving up through the field during the 2nd and final mile. Running in the top 7 with roughly 1/3 of a mile to go, Jeffrey moved up and charged to the finish, going back and forth between the 4th and 5th position. In the end, he, by just a step, was beat out by a Chase Collegiate runner. However, in a show of great sportsmanship, both runners, near collapse in the finish chute congratulated one another on their epic efforts.
Junior co-captain Blake Zahansky improved upon his time last weeks.  In his triumphant return to racing, junior Cam Adams - always an XC gamer when the lights are on - shot up the ladder to the third slot for Pomfret.
Sophomores Cooper Ames and Kellen Horst flip-flopped places from last week. Both continue to gain fitness though battle typical early season running specific soreness. For the team to be more competitive, it will be critical for each to shave seconds from week to week. The sixth runner was sophomore Ian Wolanin, who dropped almost 30 seconds off his prior time. He used his teammates to motivate him to run faster, endeavoring to move up the Pomfret ladder. Toward the end, Ian passed steady senior Jack Terwilliger and beat him by a second.
Among our JV finishers, sophomore Cole Hecker just missed the 7th spot. He was disappointed in the effort, knowing he can perform better. Another sophomore Alex Chen, who has professed a deep and abiding passion for cross country, ran boldly and finished 9th for us. Rounding out the top 10 for Pomfret was senior Kevin Li. Kevin has one of the best kicks on the team and employed it in a valiant sprint to the finish to beat out three other runners, including our own junior Danny Wang. Other finishers for Pomfret include Terry Kim ’21, David Wu ’21, Ben Gordon ’22, Bill Tian ’23, and Jay Kim ’21, all of whom demonstrated much grit, especially David, Ben, and Jay who donned the Pomfret singlet in the first time in a race.
At the “Fun Run” O’Connell Invitational hosted by Cheshire School, senior co-captain Jeffrey Gibbs came into the day Pomfret’s number one runner and had his sights set on making a go of winning this race outright. And he did.
The racers disappeared into the woods early in the race; with Jeffery was in 4th place and fellow captain, junior Blake Zahansky, ran in the top 10. When they emerged from an upper playing field, Jeffrey was in first place and Blake in 4th. It was Jeffrey’s first outright win, an impressive feat in a field of 77 runners. He stretched his lead throughout the race, beating the 2nd place Hamden Hall runner by a minute. Blake’s 4th place finish was an important step for him and for the team. He ran with renewed confidence.
The team’s new motto, courtesy of junior Cam Adams, “The faster you run, the sooner you’re done,” served Cam well today. He started methodically and moved up steadily throughout the entire race, turning on extra speed seemingly at will. He finished third for the team and 15th overall. Without ill sophomore Cooper Ames, a scratch for the race, fellow sophomore Kellen Horst found himself without his usual pacing partner. He still ran determinedly and had the resolve to make some strong passes in the final quarter-mile. Improving each week and with even more potential to do so, sophomore Ian Wolanin had his first top 5 team finish. It’s been fun to witness how his practice work ethic is translating into solid race results. Senior Jack Terwilliger turned in his typically reliable effort, finishing 6th for the team. Sophomore Alex Chen brought his best, despite an early morning injury. He was 7th for the team, his first varsity finish.
Among the JV runners, sophomore Danny Wang was the first finisher, followed by senior Kevin Li. Kevin took a tumble in the woods, injuring his leg and shoulder but picked himself up and finished the race. Other finishers: Terry Kim ’22, Bill Tian ’23, and Ben Gordon ’22.
Team Finishes: Rye Country Day 33, Hamden Hall 57, Pomfret 65, Wooster 93, Woodhall 169, Cheshire 147, Greens Farms 176.
By David Ring


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