With the rain starting Friday night at Mason’s Homecoming game, the Mustang runners knew they were heading off for a soggy day when they boarded their buses Saturday morning. Still just how much thick, deep mud awaited them at Bull Run Park was a surprise to everyone.
With rain during the early races, the muddy course was slick and runners went down on turns and slopes. As the rain let up, the power of the mud intensified, pulling off shoes and generally slowing runners through the low areas. Determined Mason runners still managed break-out individual performances and some great team results.
With 67 schools and over 2500 runners, the unique feature of the Glory Days Meet is the freshman races – only 9th graders (plus our 8th graders) can enter.
Ten Mason boys started at 10:30 a.m. in a huge field and when it was over, freshman Houston Langford had crossed first for Mason in 20:38, 137th overall. Next in were freshmen Sam Updike (21:00) and Gordon Copeland (21:27), 8th grader Lorien Hinsz (21:28) and freshman Andrew Wong (21:49).
The freshman girls had rain and the slipperiest conditions, following on a course trampled by more than 350 runners in the previous race. Freshman Sophie Matton finished first for Mason in 23:24(58th), followed by fellow freshmen Clara Matton (24:03), Cara McFall (25:17), Katie Pala (25:51) and Julia Salin (25:58).
Such a large group of junior varsity boys compete at this meet that organizers split the group into two heats. Mason entered 15 runners with junior Tyler Gogal leading the pack and placing 77th in 20:39.
Sophomore Caelin Campbell had his best finish of the season coming in next in 21:05, with senior Justin Divecha (21:07) and sophomore Zach Ellis (21:08) on his heels. Sophomores Ethan Keck (21:19), Frank Williamson (21:21) and Austin Yoder (21:22) contested and pushed each other through to the finish. Eight more Mustangs followed from the deep boys’ team.
The Varsity B Boys’ race saw senior Julian Grippo rise to the top of the pack and cross in 19:33 in his best time of the year.
Less than a minute later, the rest of the group had crossed the line with freshman Griffin Warner (19:43) followed by sophomore CT Dodge (20:03), freshman Neil Menon (20:14), junior Patrick Field (20:15) and freshman Danny Mineo (20:31).
Next to run for Mason were the Varsity B Girls. Sophomore Ana Abel (22:45) was easy to spot in an extra layer of fluorescent yellow as she came in 66th in her best finish on the season, followed by sophomore Valentina Anfinogenova (23:18), junior Isabelle Kessler (23:44), sophomore Lucy Hoak (23:53) and junior Sarah Coppock (24:49).
The Varsity Boys took the line without two of their top runners, who were taking the SAT. The seven runners worked the crowded course with determination and moved up consistently between mile markers.
Senior Beamlak Hailemariam came across first for the group in 18:30 with junior James Schneider a step behind in 18:32.
Seniors Jonathan and Timothy Gilmour continued their brotherly teamwork crossing next in 18:51 and 19:08. Junior Kiran Menon looked strong (19:41), followed by his fellow juniors David Matz (20:02) and Charlie Field (20:07).
Concluding the day, just as the clouds started to break around 3:30 p.m., were the Varsity A Girls. Junior Blaise Sevier and freshman Logan Funk traded leads through the first mile of the race, but then Funk pulled ahead. Freshman Estelle Timar-Wilcox passed Sevier in the final half mile of the race.
Funk finished the race in 17th place (19:55) and Timar-Wilcox finished in 38th place (20:32) – first and second for Mason. Sevier (47th, 20:41) was followed by freshman Linnea Skotte (57th, 20:57) and sophomore Brooke Meinhart (96th, 21:35). The girls’ team finished 8th out of 26 teams, the best finish for Mason on the day.
Mason now has over a week to prepare for the Bull Run District meet, which is next Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Rappahannock County High School. The Conference 35 championship follows on Oct. 29th at New Market Battlefield.