McCallie School has another strong cross country team this season and their potential was tested at the Knights Crossing Invitational in Roanoke, VA on Saturday. Over 2000 athletes and 100 teams competed in various races held on the Virginia State Meet Course at Greenway Park.
McCallie raced against 46 teams in the championship division which included schools from NC, GA, MD, WV, TN and VA.. McCallie's top 5 ran a controlled effort to finish second to Oakton High School the number one AAA team in Virginia.
There were 395 individuals in the Championship Race and McCallie was led by Samuel Ligon in 9th place with a time of 16:14 over the dusty 5K course. Ligon is the defending DII state champion in the 1600 and ran an excellent race. John Arrowsmith ran 16:34 to finish 22nd and was followed by teammates Dylan Zeller 33rd and Duke Richey in 36th who ran 16:53 and 16:57 to crack the 17 minute barrier.
Ben Niehaus showed promise as McCallie's 5th man in 17:18 which was good for 49th. Brown Hayes clocked 18:00 and Jaren Dildine 18:14 to complete McCallie's top 7 varsity athletes. Patrick Kushman also ran for McCallie and finished with a time of 18:53.
McCallie head coach Mike Wood was pleased with his teams opening effort. "We usually like one more week of training before our first meet, but I'm very proud of how well the boys competed today and what a great job Coach Stoker does with the kids. Samuel has moved to another level since winning the state 1600 last season and John Arrowsmith is not far behind him.”
“When Dylan and Duke hit their groove we will be better. Huge for us today was our 5th man Ben Niehaus. Ben was the number two 5th man in the race with only Oakton's 5th man 4 places in front of him. Beautiful setting for a super competitive race and it was fun to finish ahead of Cardinal Gibbons and Reagan from NC and Blacksburg from VA. They are outstanding programs."
McCallie's varsity top 7 will next race at the Tennessee Classic in Nashville on September 21. The McCallie Cross Country Invitational will be Saturday, September 28th at Woodland Park.