The Transylvania Times -

By Phillip Latter
BHS XC Coach 

Blue Devils XC Place Third, Tenth At Furman Invitational – Brevard NC

 

October 13, 2016

Ava Findlay (bib no. 162) paces herself just ahead of Eliza Witherspoon (bib no. 169) during last Saturday's Furman Invitational. Witherspoon would go on to place second, with Findlay finishing fourth. The Brevard girls' team finished third overall, while the boys' team placed 10th. The Blue Devils are back in action next Tuesday at the conference finals in Cullowhee. (Courtesy photo)

Only hours after Hurricane Matthew struck land and began flooding South Carolina, the Blue Devils found themselves in the Upstate preparing to race in one of the most prestigious meets in the state.

Although the racing field was smaller due to Hurricane Matthew – which kept many teams from traveling – the Blue Devils welcomed the cloudy, breezy conditions and stout competition.

As they have all year, the girls quickly showed they belonged.

Eliza Witherspoon started the race in 15th place and then methodically worked her way into the lead before settling for a well-earned second place finish.

Two spots behind her was Ava Findlay, who also briefly took the lead during the second mile.

That aggressive racing helped Brevard place third overall as a team, right behind Georgia powerhouse Milton High School and Asheville's Carolina Day, the top team west of Charlotte.

Julia Smith, Lillie Siniard, Alydia Monahan and Alyssa Lefler all finished within a few seconds of each other, helping the Blue Devils hold off several top South Carolina schools.

"Eliza's race really captured the essence of her season," said head coach Phil Latter. "She's become so resilient, such a fighter. Even when it looked a little rough at the beginning, she never stopped believing. Seeing her coming up the last hill in second place, with Ava right behind her, really showed what we're capable of. We've had some non-running health issues in our main pack, but those are starting to clear up. I like the trajectory of our season."

The men's race was equally stacked and Noah Graham fared the best, placing sixth overall, with Andrew Robinson seven spots behind.

Will Coye, Dylan Sasser, and Parker Grant did well in the 3-4-5 slots to pull Brevard to a 10th place finish out of 18 teams, despite missing their usual number five and six runners with band commitments and illness, respectively.

"We were definitely behind the eight ball a lot today," Latter said, "but we handled it well. A couple top guys tried out new tactics in this race with mixed results. But that's what these last meets are for, figuring out what you have and how you can put it all together when it matters most."

Brevard returns to action next Tuesday at the WNCAC championships in Cullowhee.

 
 

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