Photos by Patrick Bendzick
Champlain Valley made a triumphant return to the Nike Cross Nationals after weathering a small bump in the road at the Northeast Regional Championships. CVU finished second last week behind Hamilton-Wenham of Massachusetts, but the nationally ranked program from Hinesburg had experience on their side Saturday at Portland Meadows in Oregon.
Assuming her usual role as frontrunner, Taylor Spillane entered the front third of the race pack immediately following the massive cannon blast that signals the start of the race. From there, she fought for position among the ultra talented field and eventually finished 71st (19:01) out of 196 athletes.
Her supporting cast of Adrienne Devita, Aleksey Jordick, Autumn Eastman, Julienne Devita, Isabelle Unger, and Sophie Hess assumed the tight 2-4 gap that has become the calling card of their success, and the small 41 second spread resulted in a 21st place finish for the team. The effort helped them shave almost five minutes from their 2010 team time.
Nike Cross Nationals race is an experience like no other. From the time the athletes arrive in Portland, to the moment they are ushered back to the airport, every athlete is treated like a star. Free gear, interactions with Olympians, and unprecedented access to the Nike campus are just a few perks of this tremendous event. All of that alone makes the trip worthwhile, but most importantly, the meet emphasizes one of the best aspects of the sport….team. Congratulations to Champlain Valley for representing state of Vermont with pride.
This race marks the end of the cross country season for athletes in the state. MileSplit Vermont will be undergoing a makeover in the next couple of weeks as the MileSplit network launches expanded coverage of the New England region. Check back often as we prepare to bring you in-depth coverage of the indoor season and beyond.
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