On a hot and humid day, the North Point cross country teams stayed red hot by sweeping Patuxent and host Northern in a tri-meet on Wednesday.
On the boys side, North Point (6-0, 6-0 SMAC) defeated Northern 23-34 and added a 17-45 win over the Panthers. The Patriots (7-1, 7-1) left with a win after an 18-43 win over county rival Patuxent (2-5, 2-5).
“Northern’s impressive, they’re a little young and up-and-coming and we needed a race like that,” North Point head coach Jimmy Ball said. “It was close.”
The Eagles girls team (5-1, 5-1) was a 19-44 winner of previously undefeated Northern (6-2, 6-2) and added a 24-35 win over the Panthers, who fell to 2-5, 2-5. Patuxent (4-3, 4-3) earned the split by virtue of its 27-28 win over the Patriots.
“The weather was rough and my kids were feeling it, but I wanted my girls to beat Northern and they did that, so I’m happy about that,” Patuxent head coach Blaine Mably said. “The girls knew who they had to finish in front of and they focused and pushed.”
In the girls race, North Point’s D’Atra Davis had a comfortable lead, then slipped and fell just before the two-mile mark.
“We had a decent workout Monday and I think she was kind of tight today and her knee tightened up on her as she was coming down the hill,” Ball said. “I think she’s more disappointed that she let the team down.”
Ball said Thursday morning, “She was walking when we arrived back at school.”
Patuxent’s Rachel Herzog won the girls race in 21 minutes 32 seconds.
“She was just right in front of me and she went down and was grabbing her ankle and was screaming, so I yelled for spotters to come over,” Herzog said.
Herzog was third after the three-quarter mark and moved ahead for good after Davis’ injury. The win was doubly satisfying as Herzog suffered heat exhaustion at the Bull Run Invitational on Sept. 22 and blacked out following the race.
“I could have pushed myself a little harder [today],” said Herzog, who won by 48 seconds, “but I was a little scared.”
“I was kind of worried she might freak out about today because it was kind of hot, but she ran well,” Mably said. “She’s done very well this year.”
Liesel Davis of North Point came in second in 22:20.
“I felt pretty good today even though it was pretty humid out,” Davis said. “I knew I wanted to keep my eye on [the lead pack] the whole time so I just tried to stay with them the best I could.”
Northern’s Rachel Zellman placed third in 22:34, thanks in large part to her familiarity with her home course.
“This is my home course, so I just tried to use it to my advantage and use the hills to my best,” she said. “It could have gone better than I expected, but I still finished third.”
Lindsey Lane of Patuxent grabbed fourth and the North Point quartet of Kenya Reese (22:43), Imahni Johnson (22:47), Catherine Springer (23:04) and Miata Reese (23:10) occupied the fifth through eighth spots. The Eagles had eight finishers in the top 12.
Home course also played a large part in the boys race as the Patriots’ Justin Cerrito trailed Christopher Jones of North Point by about 60 yards at the two-mile mark before passing Jones and winning in 17:02.
“I just wanted to keep him in contact because I wanted to close the gap and in the woods it’s pretty tight, so I made my move there,” Cerrito said of what turned out to be an 11-second win. “[Jones] went out pretty fast, but I just wanted to win my race and hopefully be with him [at the end].”
“That’s the benefit of a home course,” said Northern’s T.J. Howell, who along with Josh Dawson are co-head coaches. “It being a 5K instead of a three-mile [course] runs a little different. That tenth of a mile makes a big difference.”
Jones, who finished in 17:13, led for much of the race but later said he went out too fast.
“The hills weren’t too bad, this one [at the two-mile mark] is pretty steep right here, but I think I just ran out of gas,” he said. “I think I took it a little too fast. It would have been nice to have won the race, but it’s more for the learning purposes and getting ready for the postseason.”
“I told Chris things like that happen,” Ball said.
North Point’s Bobby Keim (17:30) was third, Scott Carpenter (17:30.5) of Northern placed fourth and the Eagles’ Patrick Jones took fifth in 17:48.
“I knew it was a hard race going in, but as soon as it started, I wasn’t feeling it,” said Trent Herzog of Patuxent, who was sixth in 17:53. “It was pretty humid out, so I got a little tight. I tried to stay with the [lead] pack, but I couldn’t really hang on towards the end.”
Howell said he thought some of his runners looked fatigued after a hard workout on Monday but said his team will regroup.
“I was definitely hoping for better outcomes, especially with the girls,” he said. “I knew North Point boys have a phenomenal team and I knew their girls team was pretty good. I was hoping for a better outcome against Patuxent, but we’ll train and focus on the SMAC and get a taper in so hopefully we’ll be a little bit more rested.”
North Point 23, Northern 34; North Point 17, Patuxent 45; Northern 18, Patuxent 43
1. Cerrito (N) 17:02, 2. C. Jones (NP) 17:13, 3. Keim (NP) 17:30, 4. Carpenter (N) 17:30.5, 5. P. Jones (NP) 17:48
North Point 19, Northern 44; North Point 24, Patuxent 35; Patuxent 27, Northern 28
1. R. Herzog (P) 21:32, 2. L. Davis (NP) 22:20), 3. Zellman (N) 22:34, 4. Lane (P) 22:37, 5. K. Reese (NP) 22:43