2014 Race in Review
Once again we had some tremendous performances – particularly in the Boys’ and Girls’ New Balance Race of Champions – that confirmed the GACCF’s status as one of the nation’s best.
Individually, Virginia’s finest produced two memorable efforts that rank high on the all-time WakeMed course and GACCF lists. Loudon County junior Andrew Hunter reinforced his status as one of the nation’s premier young talents with a dominating 14:46.1 victory, producing the biggest winning margin in Boys’ ROC history and coming within 3 seconds of Sean McGorty’s meet and course record (#3 all-time). Hunter had broken out the previous spring as a soph with his eye-opening Penn Relays win and his NBNO 2-mile runner-up finish, and would go on after GACCF to remain unbeaten until the Foot Locker Finals, where he was 4th.
The runner-up in the Boys’ ROC was Daniel Boone TN senior Adam Barnard in 15:12.1, followed by the Galloway School’s (Atlanta GA) Reilly Friedman in 15:15.8. Seventeen runners broke 15:40! By the way, Barnard had run a 4:10.23 mile for 9th in last spring’s NBNI mile and continued to get better all fall. At the NXN Southeast Regional on WakeMed, he came even closer to McGorty’s CR with a 14:44, and then battled for the lead in the NXN Finals before taking 5th.
In the Girls’ ROC, E.C. Glass’s rising star soph Libby Davidson ripped a 17:07.3, continuing a stunning emergence that started in early fall and pulling away from Ryen Frazier (Ravenscroft NC senior) – who moved up two spots from 2013 – at 17:22.7. Elly Henes from local power Green Hope NC took 3rd in 17:35.8. Eight girls broke 18:00 and 11 more were under 18:30. Like Barnard, Frazier – our NBNO mile champ last June – would go on to an even faster time at WakeMed, a stunning 16:44.27 in a November open/college meet (#2 all-time), and then won Foot Locker South and finished 2nd at Foot Locker Finals. Davidson also finished strong: 4th at FL South and 6th in the Finals.
In the Girls’ ROC team battle, visitors from Virginia were triumphant as well, as Blacksburg moved up a spot from 2013 – when they were 2nd by point – and dominated with 56 points. Blacksburg, in fact, had finished twice at GACCF before. They were followed by La Salle Academy RI at 105 points, Green Hope NC at 130 and 9-time GACCF champs Saratoga Springs NY at 143. Those top 3 teams would all capture state titles (Saratoga was 2nd in NY to national champion Fayetteville-Manlius NY) and all four qualified for NXN Finals. Blacksburg and Green Hope were 1-2 in the NXN SE race and Blacksburg was 7th in the final.
Meanwhile, it was the same La Salle Academy crew taking the Boys’ ROC title with 132 points – starting with a tremendous top 4 and then holding on for a fairly tight win over Marietta GA at 140 and Daniel Boone TN at 144. It was the first time in the GACCF top 3 for each of those schools. La Salle overcame the absence of a key scorer due to injury to pull out the victory. Later on, Daniel Boone (2nd in SE) and La Salle (NE champs) both made it to the national finals, taking 14th and 18th, after winning their respective state titles.