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Multiple Teams · Raider Cross Country off and running

The Randolph Cross Country program competed this past Saturday, September 2nd at the 2017 edition of the historic “Berry College Clara Bowl Invitational” on the majestic campus of Berry College in Rome, GA.  Randolph was the sole Alabama school to cross the state line as they faced some very stiff competition from Georgia and Tennessee.  Some of the teams are contenders for qualifying for the coveted “Nike Team National Championships” in late November 2017.   View photos in the Vidigami gallery

The teams arrived early afternoon on Friday, and had an awesome team meal at the very recommended Provino’s Italian Restaurant, where graduate and one of last year’s team captain’s, and current Berry College track star Maddi Smitm (2017) joined us for some great food and even better team bonding!

Saturday morning brought a cooler start to the morning air with a slight cold front ushered in by the now tropical low, remnants of what was Hurricane Harvey as it moved out of the southeastern region of the country.  Cooler temps brought some fast times as the winners of each of the races definitely ran some pretty quick times for the early season meet (Varsity Girls 18:46 and Varsity Boys 15:56).

Even with the cooler temps, the Raiders seemed to be a bit sluggish as team averages in the varsity races were a little slower from last year for some reason.  Conclusive to the thought that they might be a bit stale from the fact we were not able to have an organized team practice since last Wednesday due to storms on Thursday and travel on Friday.

The coaches know that this is not indicative of what kind of fitness as a whole for our program is right now, but that this was our first meet and that we needed to get a race in to “bust off some of the rust” per say.

The meet management decreed that all schools could only enter your fastest 10 girls and fastest 10 boys in the “varsity” races.  All others had to go in either the “open” race or in the much later in the morning “JV” race.  We chose the “open” race as it was early, cooler, and our whole program could finish earlier and depart for home sooner.

The “open” race really surprised us on how well some of those not selected to run at the “varsity” level could step up and show that they could run fast early in the season too!  7th grader, Claire Deaton really impressed as she killed it and finished 8th female overall with a new personal best of 24:41 for the full 5 kilometer distance, showing she will be one to look for over the course of the season.  The “open” race girls finished strong and came across in team order of senior Anna Grace Johnson 31:03 29th female, Sydney Hodge 31:15 30th female, Corrina Mathews 31:42 31st female, Audrey Johnson 34:20 36th female, and Grace Molloy 34:43 and 38th female overall.

On the boys side of the “open” race, Will Kessler led the way with a 21:21 and 24th overall male place, Sims Fann 21:47 in and 29th male, David Casimes 23:06 and 43rd place, Jackson Howse 23:12 and 45th place, Felipe Marples Rodriguez 24:15 and 54th place, Evan Devine 24:23 and 56th place, Wesley Hodge 27:50 and 65th place, and David Young rounding out the boys in the open race with a 30:50 and 74th place.

The “varsity girls” race was second on the docket with a start time of 8:45 am that morning.  Emma Hudson led the charge for the girls on this day with 68th overall place in 21:51.  Zoe Evans led the Raiders early, and finished a strong 70th place in 21:56 for the 5k distance.  Katherine Hunter finished at the 96th spot with a 22:30, Nisha Mailapur clocked a 23:25 with a 133rd finishing place.  Caroline Stucky finished 175th place with a 24:30 with 7th grader Sydney Clary coming across the line in 24:48 and 182nd place.  Caroline was the 5th place runner for the team rounding out the team score places.  Margaret Stucky was the last “displacer” finishing 7th for the girls in 197th place and clocking a 25:30.  Brooke Harmon, despite illness, ran as fast as she could for the day in 29:37 with a 235th place.

The girls finished 20th out of 33 scoring teams, with a score of 542 points.  The top five girls average 22:50 for the 5k distance and there was a 2:39 between our first girl and fifth girl.  Harrison High School out of Kennesaw, GA won the meet with a team average of 20:09.

The “varsity boys” toed the line at 9:30 am (eastern time).  As it was in the girls varsity race, it was a very competitive team and individual race for an early season meet.  Senior, Matthew Estopinal held strong with the lead pack through the first mile before fading some to finish 14th overall with a good early season mark of 16:45.  Senior Kohl Kraus was the second finisher for the Raiders with a 159th overall place and 18:51 for the 5k distance.  Sophomores, Jack Schamban and Lee Thomas raced each other to the line finishing 205th and 206th respectively and times of 19:24 and 19:25.  8th grader, Eric Xing rounded out the top scoring 5 with a 227th place finish and a time of 19:42.  Fellow 8th grader, David Coomer, finished 282nd with a 20:37, followed closely by Chris Wiginton crossing the line in 293rd place with a 20:47 and Max Pitsinos in 21:01 and 298th place, and senior Esper Chao in 304th place and 21:13.

The boys finished 25th place out of 40 scoring teams with a score of 720 points.  The top five boys averaged 18:49 for the 5k distance and there was a 2:57 between our first boy and fifth boy.  St. Pius X Catholic High School out of Atlanta, GA won the meet with a team average of 17:01.   View full Results

Our student-athletes knew that this was going to be a tough meet with very fast competition.  We are going to use this meet as a starting point in terms of an early season mark and this will not define us and we are getting stronger, faster, and more like a family that run like a finely tuned machine very soon.  Focus on closing the gap between the first and fifth runners is paramount along with getting those that are not in the top 5 to be with the top 5, not so far away.

Next up for the Randolph Cross Country Program, we head back to the Oakville Indian Mounds for the 17th Annual “Chickasaw Trails Invitational” Saturday, September 9, 2017.  The start times are as follows;

1A-4A Varsity Girls 5K  8:30 am
1A-4A Varsity Boys 5k  9:30 am
“B Team” Varsity Girls 5k  9:50 am
“B Team” Varsity Boys 5k  10:10 am
“JH Girls” 2.1 Mile  10:30 am
“JH Boys” 2.1 Mile  10:45 am

Let’s go Raiders!

4A COMPETITORS:  Top 3 teams from state championships 2016

*Full results:

(Girls) Catholic-Montgomery:  8/31/17 @ Trinity Trailblazer in Montgomery, AL

Team Average for 5k: 23:43.63    1st -5th Runner Split: 4:52

(Girls) West Limestone: 9/2/17 @ Pepsi Challenge in Moulton, AL

Team Average for 5k: 23:23.18   1st -5th Runner Split: 3:34

(Boys) LAMP-Loveless: 8/31/17 @ Trinity Trailblazer in Montgomery, AL

Team Average for 5k: 20:44.25    1st -5th  Runner Split: 2:18

(Boys) Trinity Presbyterian:  8/31/17 @ Trinity Trailblazer in Montgomery, AL

Team Average for 5k: 22:18.40    1st -5th Runner Split: 2:43  *Their top 2 runners did not run for some reason.

(Boys) Catholic-Montgomery:  8/31/17 @ Trinity Trailblazer in Montgomery, AL

Team Average for 5k: 19:30.26   1st -5th Runner Split: 1:02  *They won the meet, beating LAMP & Trinity!


  1. RANDOLPH                         69
  2. WEST LIMESTONE            101
  3. WILSON                               103
  4. CATHOLIC-MONT             132


  1. RANDOLPH                         107
  2. HALEYVILLE                         115
  3. WHITE PLAINS                   142
  4. ANNISTON                          143