West Holmes sophomore Vinny DeFelice left his mark on the East District Div. II District cross country course at Cambridge High School Saturday, Oct. 18.
DeFelice got a short lead, which grew and grew at each half mile marker, and eventually the Knight ran away from the crowd, victorious in a time of 16:24.
That spurred the Knights on to a second place finish behind Indian Valley, but it wasn’t the finish that head coach Kevin Beachy was looking for when the team arrived that morning.
DeFelice said that the pace of the race was so slow that when he waited for someone to take the lead, nobody was willing to do so.
So he did, and took the reins from there, a decision which pushed him to the top.
“I waited for someone to get out in front and the pace just stayed slow, so I took off,” said DeFelice. “I knew I had a shot at winning, and finished where I wanted. It was a solid race considering the hills and the wind.”
DeFelice bolted at the half mile marker, something the coaching staff said wasn’t necessarily in the game plan.
Beachy said that even with the win, he knows DeFelice can get lower, and that pretty much summed up what he felt about the entire Knights squad on this day.
“We survived and advanced, but there is still plenty of room for improvement,” said Beachy. I’m just not very pleased with our effort. We went out way too hard, and that effected our times negatively.
“I really think we will run a lot faster next week.”
Beachy used Danny Drummond as a perfect example of what happens when runners don’t follow the game plan, although he said he could have used pretty much any of the Knights.
Drummond said he ran a 5:15 first mile, which is far faster than what Beachy wanted him at. All of the knights came out too quickly, something he said they will remedy at Regionals.
“Needless to say, Danny won’t be running a 5:15 next week in the first mile,” said Beachy with a laugh. “Maybe we are peaking and feeling fresher, because all of the guys said they didn’t feel like they were running that fast. We just have to be a little smarter.”
Philip Shaffter gave a solid effort, coming in at 17:39, good for 14th place, which qualified him for Regionals as an individual.
Despite the fast first mile issues, Drummond actually performed admirably, finishing 19th in 17:55. Teddy Oliver was right on his heels, placing 21st in 18:09, while the fifth counting score went to Mark Raber, who nipped teammate Ethan Meyer at the wire for 34th and 35th place, respectively, in times of 18:46 and 18:47. Brent Wilson was 39th in 18:57.
Indian Valley would gain an easy District title, collecting 48 points based on finished of third,fourth, 11th, 12th and 18th.
Next came the Knights, with 89 points, but following the race Beachy felt like his team could have finished fourth. Third place went to Morgan (99) and the fourth and final qualifying spot went to Minerva (106).
Entering regionals, not only will DeFelice have his sights set on another top five finish and perhaps even a title, but the Knights will have plenty to prove as they readjust their thinking and prepare for what they hope is another run to the State meet.