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Decatur cross country teams win first meet of 2014

(Sept. 19, 2014) Stephen Decatur’s cross country teams won the first meet of the season last Wednesday, which took place on their home course in Berlin.

“I thought that both teams did a good job and ran well for the most part…Conditions were warm and humid, which can sometimes have a negative effect on times, especially in distance races, but our runners seemed to handle themselves well,” said Decatur Coach Jody Stigler.

The Lady Seahawks dominated the five-school meet as the first six runners to cross the finish line were Decatur athletes. The top five finishers from each school score points for their respective teams.

Leading the pack for Decatur was senior Jenna Reimer (21:56). Following her in second through fifth place was junior Rachel Savage (24:22), sophomore Peyton Dunham (24:43), senior Meya Chilengi (25:22) and sophomore Rose Billings (25:24).

Junior Alison Alvarado was the sixth Seahawk to complete the race (25:27).

Decatur won the competition with 15 points. North Dorchester was second with 56 points and Snow Hill took third (73).

“The girls had a strong day, placing eight in the top 10…15 points is the best score that a team can achieve in a cross country meet, meaning that our girls who scored came in the highest positions possible,” Stigler said. “Individually, Jenna Reimer was the standout performer with a time of 21:56, which is very fast on the ‘Mt. Decatur’ course and was three seconds shy of the school record. In general, I expected a strong showing from our girls, but this is the first time that I have seen a score of 15 in a cross country meet. They definitely happen, but are rare.”

Senior Jake Gaddis led the Decatur boys’ team to victory. He crossed the finish line second overall (20:11). Also contributing to the win was freshman Jack Reimer (fourth, 20:52), sophomore Jared Massey (sixth, 21:30), freshman Matt Alvarado (seventh, 21:37) and senior Parker Harrington (eighth, 21:50).

“I was impressed with our first four boys and thought that all ran well. Jack Reimer and Matt Alvarado are both freshmen, so they definitely have a lot of room to improve,” Stigler said. “Jake Gaddis finished second, which I thought was a good showing. We had five boys in the top eight, which is pretty good.”

Decatur scored 27 points. Parkside finished second with 52 points and North Dorchester placed third (74).

“I thought that [it] was a good meet to start off our season on the right foot and build some confidence,” Stigler said. “Our goal, as always, is to improve every day, every practice and every meet. Of course we want to win every meet and it was a good result, but it is important to realize that it is only the first meet and I try to not read too much into the results. We do not want to peak during the beginning of the season.…I think that we are off to a good start, so far, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Decatur is scheduled to compete in the 63rd annual Spiked Shoe XC Invitational at Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.

“This meet is run on a hilly course against very tough competition,” Stigler said. “I am really looking forward to this meet because it will see us face some of the strongest competition in the state.”

Stephen Decatur senior Jake Gaddis runs up the hill on Mt. Decatur during the Sept. 10 meet in Berlin. He finished second overall in the race.

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