RU’s Cross Country Teams Excel at Invitational Meet

On a chilly, cloudy afternoon to end the fourth week of school, Randolph Union hosted its first "home" cross country (XC) meet since 2014 at Vermont Technical College’s official 5k and new 3k courses. The invitational was Randolph’s first opportunity to host a meet since the 2014 season.

"Seventeen high school and eleven middle school teams from around the state converged in Randolph Center to take on one of the hilliest courses on the XC season schedule," said Athletic Director Steve Croucher. "It was an incredible event and the day couldn't have gone any better. It was easily one of the best meets we've ever had."

VTC Coach Bob Dunkle, who made the college's 5k and (new) 3k course available for the meet,was happy to provide a venue that challenged runners on a variety of terrain, provided fantastic spectator viewership, and brought the greatest number of athletes to compete in the history of the course.

"The apple orchard and solar panel field are such unique elements to this course,” Dunkle said. “There aren’t many places in the state where runners get this kind of elevation and serious challenge over a 5,000 meter race."

Pacing the boys’ team, sophomore Isaac Kaplan took 2nd overall in the high school boys race with a time of 18:27, one-second back from race winner Ross Crowne from Division I Middlebury Union; while 8th grader Nate Murawski took the overall middle school title on the 3k course in 10:43. Courtney Clement pressed hard for a 7th place overall high school girls finish in 24:25, while 8th grader Olivia Kaplan led the Lady Ghosts with a third place individual finish in the middle school race, clocking an impressive 12:10 over 3,000 meters.

Strong finishes from Brandon Ryan (6th overall), Noah Slocum (28th overall), Dakota Garrow (30th overall), and Robbie Draper (36th overall) - alongside Kaplan's second-place finish - gave the high school boys an impressive fourth place team finish, just four points back from Middlebury Union's third place team score.

“I’m so grateful to all the race staff and volunteers, especially coaches Simona Talos and Ben Weir, who helped make the invitational such a success,” said Athletic Director Steve Croucher, “as well as the Randolph Boosters organization for all the tasty eats and drinks at the concession stand throughout the event. These kinds of events don't happen without the passion and selfless dedication of a lot of people.”


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