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Blacksburg sweeps the Blue Demon Invitational with two team titles and two individual winners.
Mark Taylor | The Roanoke Times
Blacksburg runner Bonnie Angermeier was the girls individual winner in Saturday’s invitational at Christiansburg.
Mark Taylor | The Roanoke Times
Noah Combs ran away from the field for his second consecutive Blue Demon Invitational individual title at Christiansburg Primary School on Saturday, leading the Bruins to a team win.
MARK TAYLOR | The Roanoke Times
Blacksburg runners Sam Teller (left to right), Jacob McCoy and Michael Carter blast off the line at the start of the Blue Demon Invitational cross country meet Saturday.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
CHRISTIANSBURG —After a long summer of training, Blacksburg runner Bonnie Angermeier was eager to race when she toed the line at the Blue Demon Invitational early Saturday morning.
A mile into the course, she wasn’t so sure.
“That felt pretty bad,” she said afterward, laughing. “I kind of forgot how much it hurts.
“Your body is telling you to stop, but you have to keep going.”
Angermeier managed to bury the pain, outkicking surprise runner-up Erin Saunders of Jefferson Forest to win in a meet record 18:53.65.
Angermeier’s teammates followed quickly, with the Bruins placing their five scorers in the race’s top eight positions for a comfortable margin over the Cavaliers, who got their five top runners in the top 12.
The team result wasn’t a big surprise for Blacksburg, which returned nearly all of its top runners from last year’s state championship team.
The Bruins boys were a bit more of a mystery, having lost five of their seven top runners from last year’s dominant state champion team.
“We were questioning how we were going to get back after losing all those guys to graduation,” said junior Noah Combs, the team’s top returner.
Saturday’s race provided a few answers.
Combs ran away from the field for his second consecutive Blue Demon Invitational individual title, while his teammates ran well enough to give Blacksburg a comfortable team win.
“Noah looked totally in control,” said Bruins coach James DeMarco, adding that the rest of the team is “still getting some kinks out.”
Combs covered the course in 16:22.12, just over a half-minute ahead of teammate Kenneth Hagan, Blacksburg’s other returning varsity runner.
Michael Carter (4th), Matthew Conner (6th) and Sam Teller (11th) rounded out the scoring for the Bruins.
“It’s a rebuilding year, but we still want to do well,” Combs said.
The Bruins scored 24 points, far ahead of runner-up Patrick County, which tallied 102.
Alex Turner led Patrick County, finishing 3rd, just behind Hagan.
In the girls race, Cave Spring’s Katie Fortner set a stout pace from the gun.
Angermeier remained conservative, covering the first mile in 6:06, well back of Fortner.
She and Saunders caught Fortner about a mile later, the pair gradually pulling away.
“I was surprised Erin was up there,” Angermeier said. “She ran great.”
Saunders was a little surprised, too.
“I normally don’t beat those girls she said of fourth place Fortner and third place Claire Ewing-Nelson of Blacksburg.
Bruins juniors Emily Beatty and Jenn Fleming, and freshman Annie Kay Combs, finished fifth through seventh, respectively, to complete Blacksburg’s scoring.
All broke the 20-minute mark.
“To have five under 20 on this course is great,” DeMarco said.
Christiansburg’s Aaron Lowe played the rabbit in the boys race, jetting out to an early lead. Combs, Hagen and Carter gobbled up Lowe on a hill about halfway through the race, but the upstart sophomore held on for fifth.
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