Strong showing by XC at Frank Keyser Invitational


Christian Testa

The boys JV cross country team poses for a photo following the Frank Keyser Invitational

Ari Fine , Sports Writer

After an abbreviated 2020 season, the Richard Montgomery cross country team enjoyed a successful 2021 season. The regular season ended on October 9, at the Frank Keyser Invitational, where RM placed a runner in the top five in all four events and finished with a strong showing headed into the upcoming county championship and regional races. 

First up was the varsity girls race, and RM started the day with a fifth-place finish out of 15 teams. Sophomore Grace Finnegan captured first place by an astonishing 40 seconds, with a final time of 17:46. 

Finnegan formulated a strategy going into the race, but it quickly changed. “I wanted to stay conservative through the first three-quarters of a mile, and then gun it for the rest of the race,” Finnegan said. “That kinda went out the door as soon as the race started because a girl sprinted to the front and I wanted to shake her as soon as I could.” 

Junior Maya Colavito (19:27) also secured a top 10 finish, finishing ninth. 

Finnegan and Colavito were followed by sophomore Emma Kim (21:09), senior Nisha Athrey (21:31), and freshman Lauren Gotting (21:36) to round out the scoring for the varsity girls. 

The boys varsity race followed and would wind up being the closest race of the meet. River Hill HS barely beat out RM for first place, winning the race by just two points. The key strategy for the RM team was to group up early, which allowed the boys to help pace each other throughout the race.  

RM was led by senior Lucas Corea (15:54), who finished fifth overall, just five seconds ahead of junior Noah Fisher (15:59) who finished sixth.“[I] felt pretty good,” Fisher said, following the race. “The team did well today, and unfortunately, we didn’t get the win, but we were very close.” 

In the JV girls race, RM narrowly edged out Urbana for third place. The race was led by freshman Ari Harder-Krehbiel (22:56), who finished sixth, her best race of the season, and sophomore Lily Kerchner (23:14), who finished 10th. Harder-Krehbiel and Kerchner both started the race in the lead pack, and maintained that position throughout the race.

“My strategy was to get out in the front at the beginning, stay in a pack with people around my pace, and just keep pushing myself,” Harder-Krehbiel said. The chase pack included seniors Hazel Hoppe (23:52) and Mirabella Funk (24:04), and freshmen Jennifer Campano (24:34), and Nina Richards (24:20), all of whom helped secure the third-place finish.

In the final race of the day, the JV boys team looked to keep its perfect streak alive. Having won each of their previous races, the JV team entered the race with a lot of momentum. All five of RM’s scorers finished in the top ten, which propelled them past River Hill and into first place. 

Sophomore Tillman Peters (17:30), junior William Julka (17:38), and sophomore Zaki Ahmad (17:41) finished second, third, and fourth, respectively. Freshman Kylen Tow (17:54) and senior Isaac Gutierrez (17:57) rounded out the scoring for the JV team, finishing in sixth and ninth place respectively. 

Juniors Sean Borsum (18:07) and Christian Testa (18:18) rounded out the top 15 with tenth and thirteenth place finishes. 

In a remarkable effort, Peters finished just six seconds behind the race winner. “It was definitely very hard,” Peters said, “but I kept a good pace throughout it, and I tried to finish strong. I’m pretty happy with it.”

After six tough invitationals and three dual meets in Montgomery County, the cross country team prepares for the county championship on October 30. Throughout the season, the team has flashed its depth and young talent on the JV teams and its speed and experience in the varsity races. The team will look to carry the momentum of its strong showing into the postseason, with hopes of both a county and state championship.