Offstein holds off Buckbee in XC clash

Horner leads wire to wire
Northern girls, Fort Hill boys claim team titles

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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FROSTBURG, Md. — Only 10 days ago, Mountain Ridge senior Molly Offstein beat Allegany junior Kaylee Buckbee by only 1.1 seconds shy of a full minute in the season-opening Interstate Classic at Clear Spring High School.

On Tuesday, it was much closer than that. Offstein outdueled Buckbee and runners from seven schools in the Mountain Ridge Cross Country Invitational at Glendening Park in Frostburg. Offstein persevered through warmer-than-expected temperatures under a blazing sun — that likely seemed worse on the ascents.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Mountain Ridge senior Molly Offstein, left, eyes the turn that marks the crest of the final hill on Tuesday in the Mountain Ridge Cross Country Invitational at Glendening Park in Frostburg. Only a few seconds behind her is Allegany junior Kaylee Buckbee.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Mountain Ridge senior Molly Offstein, left, eyes the turn that marks the crest of the final hill on Tuesday in the Mountain Ridge Cross Country Invitational at Glendening Park in Frostburg. Only a few seconds behind her is Allegany junior Kaylee Buckbee.

At one point in the second half of the race as Offstein and Buckbee, already separated from the field and headed towards the highest point on the course, Offstein walked. That’s right — she walked. But Buckbee, returning from a year-long hiatus due to injury and still managing a sensitive Achilles tendon, couldn’t overcome the frontrunner.

With approximately 600 meters to go as Offstein then, seconds later, Buckbee, crested the final hill and made the right turn towards a downhill and the finish line on the soccer field, Offstein put together everything she had left to separate herself from her closest competitor.

Offstein crossed the finish line in 21 minutes and 42 seconds — 52 seconds off her effort Sept. 5 in Clear Spring — and Buckbee followed in 21:53. Northern Garrett’s Michaela Vitez was third (24:22) while Southern Garrett’s Katie Keefer (24:49) and Allegany’s Natalie Gray (24:53) were the last two in the 48-runner field under the 25-minute mark.

 

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Southern Garrett's Declan Horner prepares for a left turn towards the woods early in Tuesday's race at Glendening Park.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Southern Garrett’s Declan Horner prepares for a left turn towards the woods early in Tuesday’s race at Glendening Park.

Led by Vitez and Ana Rhoten (10th, 25:33), the Huskies placed two in the top 10 to earn the team title with 54 points. Allegany (73) edged host Mountain Ridge (74), followed by Southern Garrett (87), Bishop Walsh (116), Fort Hill (117) and Francis Scott Key (162).

Southern Garrett’s Declan Horner led from start to finish in the boys’ race. He finished in 18:05 to pace the 62-runner field. The mystery was who would finish in second, a position held by nearly half a dozen runners at various points throughout the race.

William Fritz, of Bishop Walsh, wanted it most. Fritz and the Spartans, competing in the team’s first meet of the year, stopped the clock in 18:29 while FSK’s Jared Klemm was third in 18:47. Allegany’s Alex Young (18:59) rounded out the top five.

The Sentinels finished atop the team standings with 54 points. FSK was second with 72, followed by Allegany (76), Southern Garrett (95), Northern Garrett (117), Bishop Walsh (125) and Mountain Ridge (127).

 

 

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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