by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle 10-9-2013
NEWPORT — North Country Falcons Avery Ellis and Sam Brunnette set new course records leading the Falcon boys and girls to the top at Tuesday afternoon’s cross-country meet. Ellis’ time of 20:36 was more than a full minute ahead of Kirby Judd from the Pittsburg-Canaan combined team. Brunnette’s time of 16:39 edged out his nearest competitors, fellow Falcons Andrew Franklin and Alex Cotnoir, by 23 seconds and 27 seconds, respectively.
Despite her win, Ellis said she felt she could have done better. A meet on Saturday followed by leg strengthening exercises on Sunday left her tired coming into Tuesday’s meet, she said. Tuesday’s win was Ellis’ fourth individual win of the season.
“The course didn’t feel that challenging,” she said afterward. “There are a lot of hills but I like hills. You work a little harder going up but you can kind of relax a little going back down and still keep up your speed.”
Lake Region Ranger Emily Millar said that the hills reminded her of Lake Region’s home course. The soggy conditions, a legacy of Monday evening’s torrential downpour, added an element of treacherous footing for runners unused to such conditions.
“We’re kind of used to hills and definitely used to soggy,” Millar said.
Millar, who finished sixth overall with a time of 23:57, said she may not have run the best race she could have.
“I think I went a little too fast going out and didn’t save enough for the finish,” she said. “If I were to run this race again I probably would leave a little in the tank for the finish.”
North Country’s Briana Bonnell, who ran a respectable 26:25, said that course conditions were soft, but a bigger problem came from the temperature that hovered in the mid-50s. The colder air was pleasant to run in but made breathing difficult, especially on the uphill portions of the course. Weather and ground conditions aside, Bonnell said she had more pressing concerns than temperatures or a damp course.
“I was mostly focused on the ground and trying not to trip over any roots,” Bonnell said.
Brunnette was pleased to learn that he had set a new course record. He spoke to reporters with well-deserved confidence having captured his fourth individual win of the season.
“I felt pretty good leading the entire thing the entire way,” Brunnette said smiling. “Now that I know I’ve beaten the course record I think I could have done better.”
Though Lake Region’s Cody Dolloff finished seventeenth overall with a time of 20:35, he had no regrets about how he fared. Having missed six weeks of running due to an injury, being able to hit the course hard felt good, he said.
“I got the performance I wanted to get at this point of my season,” Dolloff said. “I didn’t spend the race following the pace runners. I set my own pace, ran my own race, so whatever happened was entirely on me.”
This year’s Lake Region squad numbers only seven runners between the boys’ and girls’ squads, Dolloff said. In spite of low numbers, Dolloff is confident that the Rangers will show well come the state championships.
“We spend a lot of time on hills so hills shouldn’t be a problem,” Dolloff said. “We need to do more speed work. Work on those sprints to get us to the finish.”
The Falcons and Rangers will return to action on Monday, October 14, as Lake Region hosts its relay meet. Race action begins at 4 p.m.
contact Richard Creaser at firstname.lastname@example.org