Champlain Valley Union High’s star cross-country runner Taylor Spillane is headed to this weekend’s Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore., but unlike the past two years, she is the lone Redhawk to make the field.
Spillane took second in Saturday’s Northeast Regionals in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., trailing only long time foe Ellie Purrier, who graduated from tiny Richford High this spring.
“Taylor ran probably the best race she has ever run,” Coach Scott Bliss wrote in an email to the Observer. “She has been about that distance from Elle a couple of times but this was one of the closest. She ran the fastest 2nd half of the race of anyone in the field. There was a plan set and she followed it perfectly.”
Purrier, the defending regional title holder, knocked some 20 seconds off her winning time last year with Spillane just six seconds back. Purrier toured the course in 18 minutes and 9.4 seconds.
The CVU team, national qualifiers in 2011 and 2010, fell to ninth among the 27 teams competing. Autumn Eastman joined Redhawk teammate Spillane at the front of the 216 competitors by taking 10th place with a time of 18:54.9.
Julienne Devita came in at number 78 of the 216 runners with a time of 20:27.5; Abby Keim was 105th with 20:55.7; Carly Neeld 120th with 21:13.4; Kestral Grevatt 155th with 21:43.6; and Emma Putre 169th with 22:03.8.
Bliss said the team’s ninth-slot finish was about what he expected.
“We are not as strong after Taylor and Autumn as we have been in the past,” he said. “Autumn ran a great race and improved over a minute from the year before.”
The CVU boys team took 26th place out of 37 teams, led by Nick Bouton and Clarke Shedd, who both ran the course in 17 minutes and 43.3 second, taking 128th and 129th places, respectively. Jared Keyes finished with a time of 17:55.9; Zach Marshall with 18.01.6; Chase Weaver with 18:27.1; and Will Kay with 20:00.8.