Smyrna girls, CR boys grab team titles at Lake Forest Invitational

The Smyrna girls’ cross country team was awarded the Class A plaque for its first-place finish. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

FELTON — John Haller didn’t want to put too much pressure on his runners in the first meet of the season.

He just wanted the team to go out there and have fun.

The plan worked as his Smyrna High girls grabbed the Class A team title in Saturday morning’s 62nd annual Lake Forest Cross Country Invitational at Killens Pond State Park.

“We just said have fun with today,” Haller said. “A few of them were having some pains, so I just said, ‘have fun, don’t worry about anything’ and it really worked out. My goal was for them to pack together and they did, so I’m very happy with their performance overall.”

The Caesar Rodney boys put up 30 points, including five top 15 finishers, to grab the other Class A team title.

With 25 schools in attendance, including eight from the Henlopen Conference and a handful of out of state schools, the meet was divided into two classes.

Smyrna’s Kelly Barr placed first in her class, and second overall to Lake’s Josephine Ledford.

Smyrna, Cape Henlopen High, Caesar Rodney High, Sussex Tech High and William Penn comprised Class A. The remaining 20 schools, including Lake Forest High, Sussex Academy, Indian River High and Sussex Central High were in Class B.

Smyrna sophomore Kelly Barr finished in a time of 20:08.5, placing first in Class A and second overall.

Her Eagles teammates Sarah Larose, Alyssa Young and Raegan Sebastianelli each placed second, third and fourth, respectively, in their class.

“Honestly, our coach said there wasn’t really too much pressure with it. Just run your race and enjoy it,” said Barr. “I feel like the adrenaline really kicked in for all of us.

“None of us really expected to run that close together, but we were all pushing each other so it felt nice to run as a team. I think it really helped with the score.”

Audrey Price rounded out the Eagles’ five top 15 finishers by placing 15th with a time of 23:31.1, giving Smyrna 25 team points.

“Our freshman girl, Alyssa Young, she’s going to be a really fun asset to the team this year,” said Haller. “This is just Day 1, you don’t want to play your whole hand on Day 1, but we’re definitely excited. I hope the excitement motivates and pushes them forward.”

Smyrna’s Audrey Price, congratulates her freshman teammate Alyssa Young during the post-race award ceremonies.

Lake Forest High sophomore Josephine Ledford finished in 19:40.7 to place first in the girls’ Class B, and first overall.

With a time of under 20 minutes, Ledford bested her freshman year personal record of 20:18 from last season’s Oct. 24 tri-meet against Polytech High and Delmar High.

Ledford was happy to be able to get the overall win on her home course.

“My mindset was kind of just to beat my time from before,” Ledford said. “I think it was just something with the weather. I felt pretty good today and I love races in the morning too, so those always seem to go better for me.”

In the boys’ race, Caesar Rodney junior Blaise Moyer placed first in Class A (third overall). Moyer’s CR teammate Jake Bole placed second to help the Riders to their first-place finish.

Moyer’s goal heading in was just to finish in under 17 minutes and he accomplished that by finishing in 16:51.5 to earn the individual class win.

It was redemption for Moyer after finishing last year’s Lake Forest Invitational in 18:10.

Caesar Rodney’s Blaise Moyer runs down the final stretch on his way to the Class A win Saturday morning.

“I’m very happy. It’s a nice day out; I came to win, and I got the W,” Moyer said. “I placed in the top 10 last year – the weather was bad. But I came and redeemed myself this year.

“I think we did great overall as a team today. Last year we had a rough start. To get into the swing of things it took us almost a month. We’re looking pretty good and I think we’re going to have a good season.”

Ben Dawson (sixth), Liam Bush (10th) and Justin Green (11th) rounded out CR’s top 15 finishers.

The Cape Henlopen boys grabbed second place as a team with 34 points, led by third and fourth place finishes from Ethan Edery and Julian Callaway.

Hunter Jones (seventh), Ace Howard (eighth), Sam Epstein (12th) and Daniel Adili-Khams (14th) also placed in the top 15 for Cape.

Sussex Tech runner Caleb Bradley marked the lone Raven to place inside the Class A top 15. He helped his team finish fourth behind CR, Cape and third-place William Penn.

Sussex Academy’s Jake Mundok (13th) and Lake Forest’s Stephen Culver (15th) marked the only two downstate top 15 finishers in Class B.
Behind the Smyrna girls’ 25 team points, Cape Henlopen’s 47 and Caesar Rodney’s 73 were enough for second and third place Class A team finishes, respectively.

The Riders’ Jake Bole finished just behind his CR teammate to take second place in the boys’ race.

Katie Kuhlman (fifth), Olivia Brozefsky (sixth), Elizabeth Melson (11th), Mia Nuebling (12th), Lindsay Rambo (13th) and Taylor Johnson (14th) each placed in the top 15 for Cape.

Arianna Purtell (seventh) and Sydney Wissman (ninth) grabbed top 15 finishes for CR.

Hannah Murphy (10th) marked the lone top 15 Class A finish for Sussex Tech.

Sussex Academy’s Helena Helou placed 15th in Class B.

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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