Potomac senior Jamaal Saunders and Gar-Field junior Dionne Evans both used disappointing performances at Saturday's William and Mary Invitational as motivation yesterday and won their respective races in a cross-country meet at Leesylvania State Park involving all seven Cardinal District schools.
Saunders pulled away from Woodbridge senior Casey Frazier to finish in 15 minutes 16 seconds on the three-mile course, and Evans cruised to a time of 18:16--16 seconds ahead of Potomac senior Johanna Allen. The Woodbridge boys and the Hylton girls--led by Richelle Plotz's third-place finish--won the respective team competitions.
Yesterday's meet served as somewhat of a preview of the district tournament because most of the top district talent ran. In past years, the meet was used as a test for less-experienced runners.
"We've had so few meets because of all the rainouts that everybody needed this," Potomac Coach Bill Stearns said. "This is really the first time everybody has gotten a chance to see each other."
Stearns was thrilled with what he saw from Saunders, who finished 26th at William and Mary on Saturday.
"Jamaal has been falling asleep in the middle of races this year, and I've been telling him he can run better," Stearns said. "He just gets this glazed look in his eye after the first mile and lets people by him and then tries to make up for it in the last half-mile. Today, he made a big breakthrough. He stayed in the whole way through, and it has to be a big confidence boost for him because now he knows he can do it."
Saunders emerged from the first mile trailing only his teammate, Jason Lewis, also a senior, but Frazier passed him early in the second mile.
"That was kind of a rude awakening," Saunders said of Frazier's move. "I went right after [Frazier] after that."
The pair passed Lewis shortly thereafter, but Frazier was unable to keep up with Saunders.
Saunders said he went for a six-mile cool-down run after the William and Mary meet.
"I was doing a lot of thinking," Saunders said. "I should have finished in the top 10 at that race, and I just decided I had to start running better."
Evans, the defending district champion, was not pleased with her 12th-place finish at William and Mary, especially after being fourth after two miles.
"There were a lot of good runners there who had raced more than I had this year, and I just went out too fast," Evans said. "I was dying out there. . . . Today, I felt great. I didn't want to get out in front too early, so I just waited behind Nicole [Williams of Osbourn Park] until we got into the woods--where the hills are--before I made my move."
The Potomac boys, district favorites entering the season, finished fourth yesterday without senior Jimmy Thayer (knee injury) and junior David Wattenmaker (heel injury). With those two returning soon, Stearns said the team should be in top form.
The Woodbridge boys, meanwhile, made a strong statement with three top 10 finishers. Sophomores Mike Lyng and Derek Grotheer were fourth and sixth overall, junior Bill Tarantino finished 12th, and senior J.L. Delayen finished 18th for a team total of 42 points--18 better than second-place Hylton.
"The boys ran well today, but it's still very early, and this meet doesn't mean a thing," Woodbridge Coach Jim Rodgers said. "We are going to have to improve to beat Potomac, but the leaves are still on the trees. We want to be at our best at the end of the season."
1, Woodbridge, 42; 2, Hylton, 60; 3, Gar-Field, 102; 4, Potomac, 113; 5, Osbourn, 123; 6, Osbourn Park, 131; 7, Stonewall Jackson, 147.
1, Jamaal Saunders, Potomac, 15:13; 2, Casey Frazier, Woodbridge, 15:34; 3, Jason Lewis, Potomac; 4, Mike Lyng, Woodbridge; 5, Nick Wilson, Hylton.
Note: Official boys times were unavailable because of a clock malfunction. Times for Saunders and Frazier were clocked by coaches.
1, Hylton, 40; 2, Osbourn Park, 49; 3, Woodbridge, 74; 4, Gar-Field, 108; 5, Stonewall Jackson, 124; 6, Osbourn Park, 124.
1, Dionne Evans, Gar-Field, 18:16; 2, Johanna Allen, Potomac, 18:32; 3, Richelle Plotz, Hylton, 18:38; 4, Nicole Williams, Osbourn Park, 18:39; 5, Moriah O'Brien, Osbourn Park, 18:44.
Note: Potomac did not race as a team.
Other Cross-Country Results
1, Stafford, 33; 2, Woodbridge, 52; 3, North Stafford, 113; 4, Woodberry Forest, 123; 5; Rockbridge, 126; 9, Osbourn Park, 199.
1, S. Lingo, North Stafford, 17.26; 2, J. Crogus, Rockbridge, 17.28; 3, C. Frazier, Woodbridge, 17.37; 4, S. Grizzle, Stafford, 17.58; 5, J. Beck, Stafford, 18.03; 6, M. Lyng, Woodbridge, 18.04, 7, P. Whitford, Stafford, 18.14; 8, M. Blose, Stafford, 18.20; 9, B. Jacoby, Stafford, 18.21; 10, C. Patterson, Rockbridge, 18.23.
1, Osbourn Park, 56; 2, Woodbridge, 73; 3, Marshall, 80; 4, Rockbridge, 112; 5, Stafford, 114; 6, North Stafford, 138.
1, L. Chalken, Marshall, 21.07; 2, N. Williams, Osbourn Park, 21.25; 3, M. O'Brien, Osbourn Park, 21.38; 4, K. Warden, Osbourn Park, 21.44; 5, A. Dameron, Stafford, 21.53; 6, B. Ludwig, Stafford, 21.55; 7, K. Shiring, North Stafford, 22.19; 8, R. Shelton, Lee-Davis, 22.22; 9, C. Seguin, Woodbridge, 22.30; 10, H. Fishpaw, Rockbridge, 22.50.