By DENNY DYROFF
For 21st-Century MediaUPPER PROVIDENCE -- At last year's Bulldog Invitational cross country meet, Malvern Prep took second place in the boys small school race -- just behind Radnor High. Saturday morning at the 2013 edition, the teams reversed roles.
Malvern Prep placed all five of its scorers in the top-17 and captured the championship trophy with 53 points. Radnor was second with 79 points followed by Upper Merion at 91, Masterman was fourth with 98 and Penn Charter placed fifth at 121.
Individually, the Friars were unable to crack the top four. Penn Charter's Scott Mason took first at 15:55 followed by Radnor's Connor Holm (15:59) and Watson Hanson (16:06) and Upper Merion's Austin Cooper (16:10).
Malvern claimed the next two places with Jaxson Hoey, who was fifth at 16:14, and Billy McDevitt placed sixth with a clocking of 16:16.
"The first mile was 4:55 which was pretty fast,' said Hoey, a sophomore. "I was in first at the mile. Then, my right shoe came off in the second mile. I had to stop, go back and put it on. It was terrible. I probably lost nine or 10 seconds because of that.
"Five or six guys passed me and I was seventh at the two-mile. I was able to close in on the leaders. But, losing that time really hurt. Having to work extra hard to catch up threw my pace off.'
McDevitt, a junior, said, "The race was pretty good until the last mile. I was in second place at the two-mile and then I just lost it in the third mile. I felt really queasy and got passed by a couple of guys. I felt off for the rest of the care.'
The Friars' other scorers were Brendan Stec, who was 10th at 16:31, Colin Wills, who placed 15th at 16:45, and Ryan Doane, who was 17th with a time of 17:06.
"The best part of my race was the hill coming up,' said Stec. "I was between 15th and 20th at the mile and then advanced five places on the hill. Near the end, Tre Williams from Penn Charter passed me and I stayed in 10th after that.'
West Chester East fared well in the boys large school race. The Vikings put two runners in the top-10 and returned home from Delaware County with the runner-up trophy.
The meet title went to Cardinal O'Hara, a team that is ranked both in the state and at regional and national levels. The Lions from the Philadelphia Catholic League finished first with 27 points and West Chester East was second with 109. Downingtown West placed third with 126 followed by Pennridge (149) and Downingtown East (154).
Individually, it was an identical situation. East's Chris Cummings arrived as defending champion and finished second behind Cardinal O'Hara. The Lions' Kevin James won the race at 15:12 and Cummings was runner-up at 15:30.
"I felt good in the first mile,' said Cummings, a senior. "We went out in a really fast time. The O'Hara boys are really good so it was exciting to race against them. At the mile, I was up with the lead guys -- O'Hara's Kevin James and Jim Belfatto.
"Kevin opened up some ground on me in the second mile. I was just trying to keep up with him. I was in second for the rest of the race. No-one came up on me but I had a feeling that Belfatto might come up. So, I was working hard all the way.'
West Chester East's other scorers were Eric Diestelow (10th, 15:15), Stephen Dages (18th, 16:29), Sean Dougherty (23rd, 16:44) and Jared Franz (56th).
For the second week in a row, Avon Grove's Josh Smith snagged a fifth-place medal at a big invitational meet. He did it last week at the Abington Invitational and he did it again Saturday. Smith's time in the race at Rose Tree Park was 15:53.
"It was a nice race -- nice and cool with a good breeze,' said Smith, a Red Devil junior. "The first mile was fast. The West Chester East guy (Cummings) and the two O'Hara guys (James and Belfatto) took off.
"Two other O'Hara kids (Rob Morro and Drew Pastore) were with me until the two-mile. After the second mile, I just took off and worked the downhills. In the last half-mile, I didn't pass anyone and no-one passed me.'
Other Chester County runners who placed in the top 20 in the large school race were Downingtown East's Billy Caldwell (eighth, 16:08) and Downingtown West's Ryan Barton (19th, 16:38) and Drew Alansky (20th, 16:38).
At Rose Tree Park
Small School team scoring: Malvern Prep 53, Radnor 79, Upper Merion 91, Masterman 98, Penn Charter 121Individuals
1. Mason (Penn Charter) 15:55, 2. Holm (Radnor) 15:59, 3. Hanson (Radnor) 16:06, 4. Cooper (Upper Merion) 16:10, 5. Hoey (Malvern Prep) 16:14, 6. McDevitt (Malvern Prep) 16:16, 7. Butera (Strath Haven) 16:23, 8. Degroot-Lutzner (Masterman) 16:23, 9. Williams (Penn Charter) 16:28, 10.Stec (Malvern Prep) 16:31.
Large School team Scoring: Cardinal O'Hara 27, West Chester East 109, Downingtown West 126, Pennridge 149, Downingtown East 1541. James (Cardinal O'Hara) 15:12, 2. Cummings (West Chester East) 15:30, 3. Brophy (Central Bucks East) 15:38, 4. Belfatto (Cardinal O'Hara) 15:46, 5. Smith (Avon Grove) 15:53, 6. Morro (Cardinal O'Hara) 16:01, 7. Pastore (Cardinal O'Hara) 16:05, 8. Caldwell (Downingtown East) 16:08, 9. Smart (Cardinal O'Hara) 16:11, 10. Diestelow (West Cherster East) 16:15.