By Lindsey Bachman, Tamara Berthel, George Flatau, and Robbie McKay, HS Cross Country Coaches
Sept. 18's Southern Showcase will likely go down in the annals of other legendary cross country meets like The Greater Louisville Classic when it rained seven inches, or the meets when the teams brought back trophies and new records.
We experienced a hybrid of those things — broken-down bus 25 miles away from the race necessitated a huge save by Battle Ground Academy when former USN teacher Wendi Parker came back from BGA's drop off with their bus to take us to the race; a new huge school record by Auldyn Plant '23 who has taken more than a minute off the school's previous 5k record so far; a whole host of shiny new PRs with accompanying ringing of the PR bell; and a lot of rain that waited until after the races ended, but made for a drenching trip to the replacement bus.
In what was supposed to be a full squad race, only Jonathan Nichols '22 and Piers Mason '22, who had driven themselves, raced in the boys’ Blue division, while the rest made their way to the meet on BGA’s bus. Both boys ran very well, despite getting caught up in a too-fast start.
The girls then competed in their Blue division, and Auldyn made the most of the opportunity, becoming the first USN girl to run under 19 minutes. Along the way, she won the race. Also running very well behind her were Ava Cason '22 (PR), Olivia Jelsma '23 (PR), Latham Hall '22, and Cléo Gauthier (PR) ultimately taking the girls to 12th out of 42 teams.
The Crimson girls raced just afterwards and brought back PRs for Alice Frein '24 and Grace Boero '24, undoubtedly made possible by the leadership of Abby Schoenecker '22, who took care of the warm-up while the Blue girls raced.
With some boys who were supposed to race in the Blue division swelling our ranks, the Crimson division boys took 16th of 48 teams, led way up the field by Austin Cason '23 finishing second overall. Collin France '23 took home a seasonal PR, and there were lifetime PRs for every other boy in the race — Henry Stack '23 went sub-20. And, a host of boys just missed that time (which comes with a coveted t-shirt) — Chris Laibinis '22, Simon Fox '24, Drew Brackett '24, and Saul Sharfstein '25. Brock Burgess '23, Cooper Wengraf-Simons '25, Jack Loss '24, and Isaac Chomsky '22 had great races, too, in an overall incredible run with 12 boys racing, they ended with two seasonal PRs and 10 lifetime ones.
The team has some big workouts planned for this week — whenever a workout has a name, it’s serious, and we have two this week — and will return to racing in two weeks.