Ea­gles cap­ture UCBAC cross coun­try crown

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ

jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

— It may not have been as dom­i­nant as their per­for­mance one week prior, but Tues­day ended in a Bo­hemia Manor team ti­tle all the same.

Ju­nior Grant Franceschina cap­tured se­cond place and three of his team­mates fin­ished in­side the Top 6 as the Ea­gles romped to 44 points and a lop­sided 43-point vic­tory over run­ner-up North Har­ford in the boys’ race at the UCBAC Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships at Fair Hill.

The win came just seven days af­ter Bo Manor placed four run­ners in the Top 5 to se­cure a vic­tory at the Ce­cil County In­vi­ta­tional. The pro­gram also cap­tured first at the Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion meet ear­lier in the month to sweep the con­fer­ence’s three ma­jor Oc­to­ber tour­na­ments.

“This is the hard­est race of the year, for sure, for us to win. I think there’s only one school smaller than us in the con­fer­ence and that’s Havre de Grace, so to be one of the smaller schools and be able to put a team out there against schools lit­er­ally twice our size is an

FAIR HILL

im­pres­sive achieve­ment for these kids,” Ea­gles coach Steve Piz­zulli said. “They worked very hard.”

Franceschina crossed the fin­ish line in 16 min­utes, 52.83 sec­onds, while sopho­more Alex Longe­way (17:02.35) and sopho­more Zachary Laird (17:04.59) fol­lowed him to cap­ture se­cond, third and fourth place for Bo Manor. Se­nior Jack Franceschina (17:14.34) then placed sixth and fresh­man Colin Park (18:30.44) came in 29th place to round out the Ea­gles’ scores.

Bel Air’s Kieran McDer­mott cap­tured first place, fin­ish­ing roughly 17 sec­onds ahead of Grant Franceschina. It was a sim­i­lar re­sult to the Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion Meet, when the pair also fin­ished 1-2.

“I was just try­ing ev­ery­thing to beat Kieran. I had been real close to him at the Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion Meet. The whole race was just stick­ing with him and I didn’t want to fall too far back. I wanted to main­tain dis­tance,” Grant Franceschina said. “This race has al­ways been my tough­est race, I don’t nor­mally run well at UCBACs. I feel like this is the mo­ment of the sea­son where it’s the hard­est.”

The Ea­gles now hope to take their mo­men­tum into the post­sea­son where they hope to win a sec­ond­straight 1A North Re­gion ti­tle and chal­lenge for their first state team crown since 2011.

“We’re look­ing for that state ti­tle and right now it seems like that’s all up to our fifth man [and] keep­ing them en­cour­aged. We don’t have a de­fin­i­tive fifth per­son so it’s all about keep­ing them mo­ti­vated and im­prov­ing.”

Tigers place fourth

On the girls’ side, Ris­ing Sun pro­duced Ce­cil County’s top run­ner and team score.

Se­nior Ari­anna Wheeler placed eighth in a time of 21:21.51 as the Tigers ended in fourth place with 113 points, 26 points be­hind third-place Pat­ter­son Mill.

Her sis­ter, Emma, placed 11th in a time of 21:22.89, while Bo Manor’s Elle Meyer (21:22.42) fin­ished 10th.

It marked a sec­ond­straight Top 10 fin­ish for Ari­anna Wheeler in as many weeks af­ter she cap­tured first at the Ce­cil County In­vi­ta­tional.

“She came out to­day hun­gry and with that 500 me­ters to go, she re­ally took off. She wanted it and she got it,” Ris­ing Sun coach Jim Burkhardt said of his top run­ner on Tues­day.

While a fourth-place fin­ish isn’t where Burkhardt en­vi­sioned the Tigers fin­ish­ing on Tues­day, he noted that the team can make up for it with strong per­for­mances at the 2A East Re­gion and 2A State meets next month.

“All of my team was slug­gish to­day. We did not fin­ish where I thought we would but in the end it’s for next week and hope­fully we can re­bound and fin­ish must faster than what we did to­day,” Burkhardt said. “Ba­si­cally, it’s a coaches job to progress them to the point where their best time is [at the end of the year], so you don’t want to peak them too early. Train­ing has been based on that and so far they have been pro­gress­ing very nicely and we’re al­most to that point. I’m hop­ing re­gions is where we put the best time down.”

Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Bo­hemia Manor sopho­more Alex Longe­way, pic­tured, was one of three Bo­hemia Manor run­ners to fin­ish in the Top 5 as the Ea­gles romped to the UCBAC Cross Coun­try crown at Fair Hill on Tues­day.

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