Great American Festival Photo Gallery

Runners line up for the start of one of the races at the Great American Cross Country festival in Cary, NC. Early leaders going down "the hill" in the boys Race of Champions. Taking command and making his move early is frontrunner Robert Bledsoe from Hoover High School in Alabama. Here Beldsoe tackles the 900m hill at the mileplus point.
Bledsoe is followed by a four pack, two North Rockford runners in front on the right with Jesuit FL's Andrew Biladeau on the left and in the back, JR Tucker's Michael Chapa. Making his turn into the stadium is Bledsoe with a scortching time of 15:13.19 in the 93% NC humidity. Middletown Ohio's Jeff See puts on a big kick in the end, but falls 4 seconds short in his attempt to catch Bledsoe as he finishs with a time of 15:17.57.
Michael Chapa leads the #2 J.R. Tucker team with a 15:22.49 finish, 3rd best time of the day. Jesuit's Andrew Biledeau is 4th coming across in 15:29.71. Next up for Tucker with a second sub-16 performance is Mason McElroy with a 15:50.05 clocking.
With a big smile for a super performance today is Tucker's Thuom Mathiang who heads for the finish with a time of 16:07.16. The Tucker runners just keep coming as Ben Rickey post the 4th sub-16:30 performance of the day with a 16:27.37. Behind Rickey is the lead Brentsville runner Pat Eggleston who posts a 16:28.66. The ROC girls are off down the hill, with Fauquier senior Sarah Bowman among the frontrunners as they charge down "the hill".
Taking charge early and exchanging leads frequently in the first two mile are Warwick Valley NY's Aislinn Ryan on the left and Summit HS's Whitney Anderson on the right. Running 3rd is Saratoga Springs NY's Nicole Blood. Blood would lead Saratoga Springs to an astonishing 2-3-6-7-8-15-28 finish for 26 points and a 128 point margin of victory over 2nd place Bethlem HS. Kayley Byrne leads a tight pack of Oakton runners up "the hill" at the mile+ point.
Putting on a big move at the 2 mile+ point, Aislinn Ryan opened to a 40 meter lead and kept pouring it on. Here she finishes the run up the hill for the second time and gets ready to make her turn into the stadium where she finishes with a time of 16:56.31, a 27 second margin of victory. Here comes Sarah...who finished 28th with a time of 19:03.00. Perhaps even more amazing than the Saratoga Springs feat was the performance of the Oakton squad, led by Kayley Byrne (19:21.31) who finished 4th today, only 9 points behind Nationally 2nd ranked Smoky Hill HS of Aurora, CO. Saratoga Springs was supposed to be there, so was Smoky Hill, but where did this team from Oakton come from?
Allegra Smith follows her Oakton teammate closely as she posts a 19:32.96. She is followed by Danielle Light (20:01.84), Carley Hudson (20:08.93) and Meredith Tighe (20:19.96). With a first mile pace of 4:36, D'Evelyn CO senior John McGuire takes charge of the boys Seeded Race and goes on to finish with a time of 15:24.09. McGuire, along with the 3 top finishers of the ROC race, finished ahead of last years' best time of 15:26 set by Ryan Deak. Cooper City FL senior Jacy Kruzel cruizes to a 34 sec win with a time of 18:43.20 in the girls seeded race.
In the boys Red Race, Massaponax senior Brandon Dick goes out conservatively in the high humidity and increasing temps. Making his charge up "the hill" at the mile+ point, Dick moves from about 25th to 4th by the 2 mile point, and goes through the woods solo as he closes a 15 sec gap to the 3 leaders. Dick puts on a kick to close #2 but just falls shy as he finishes with a time of 16:29.79. Brandon Dick's North Stafford fan club display the posters they made to cheer him on.
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