On with the race

Published 10:08 pm Saturday, October 17, 2009

Despite rain, mud, cold and lost shoes, Nansemond-Suffolk’s one home cross country meet of the season went on Thursday afternoon. Nearly 200 runners battled through the 5K course and the added elements.

For the Saints, seventh-grader Maya Venkataraman won the JV girls race in a time of 21:36. Venkataraman won the JV category by nearly three full minutes and would’ve placed second in the varsity race.

Even without Meera Venkataraman as the usual leader of NSA’s girls varsity team, as she was out because of an injury, the Lady Saints had nine runners finish in the top 25 and took second place.

“This is the best girls team we’ve had in years. We’ve won three meets this year, and this is my fourth year here, and this is the first season we’ve won meets,” said Diana Ligler, NSA’s head coach.

Every runner finished the race with a coating of cold mud up to at least the knees if not the waist. A number of runners lost a shoe to mud somewhere on the course.

“This is the first race where I’ve seen several people finishing without one shoe,” said Ligler.

Bishop Sullivan Catholic sophomore Colleen Schrader won the girls varsity race in 21:13, 58 seconds better than the field.

The top five Lady Saint runners were Katelyn McCracken (6th, 22:47), Emily Leverone (9th, 24:02), Macy Mears (10th, 24:07), Darcy King (13th, 24:53) and Emily Neuberg (16th, 25:31). Peninsula Catholic won the meet by seven points.

NSA finished fifth of eight schools in the boys meet. NSA senior David Leber finished second in a time of 18:20. Norfolk Collegiate junior Ryan Lanoue won in 18:12. Peninsula Catholic won the team competition.

Leber has won meets this season at Peninsula Catholic, Walsingham and Mount Trashmore.

Along with the many individual successes for the Saints this season, Ligler sees the whole program growing. The Saints have about 40 runners out on the two teams.

“That’s really given us a lot of strength, and we have a lot of young runners. We have a number of eighth- and ninth-graders contributing to our team,” said Ligler.

The Saints have two more regular-season meets on the next two Thursdays, then have the Tidewater Conference Meet on Nov. 5 at Newport News Park.