The American Running Association's Battle of the Potomac Cross Country (XC) course at Smokey Glen Farm played host to two MD high school XC teams this week. The Smokey Glen Farm 5K course was developed for last fall's inaugural Battle of the Potomac XC Championship: MD vs VA. Meet organizers Dave Watt, Hal Danoff and Bruce Gross were scheduled to be onsite at Smokey Glen Farm on Wednesday afternoon September 20th to re-measure and make subtle adjustments to the double-loop 5K course. Earlier in the day, Quince Orchard's Head Cross Country Coach Seann Pelkey had notified the organizers that his team's dual meet would shift to the Battle XC course due to concerns with yellow jacket bees on their home course. Watt, Danoff and Gross used this opportunity to get a course flagged for use by the two Montgomery County (MD) high schools.
Quince Orchard's (QO) Boys XC team is the defending MD 4A state champion and is currently ranked #3 in the Nike Team National Southeast U.S. rankings. Richard Montgomery (RM) is one of Quince Orchards' Montgomery County rivals. The scheduled division dual meet was one of several type meets that fill the mid-week schedule for Maryland cross country teams.
The girls' race led things off soon after 3:30 pm. The start line was on the downslope of a ridge on the Smokey Glen Farm site. Runners hit a dip and quickly moved up another rolling hill before heading out to a Christmas tree farm section on the Farm site. QO’s girls put enough of their top 5 into the early finishers to hold off RM’s girls squad. QO was led by Aimee Moores who had run for Team MD at the inaugural Battle of the Potomac last fall, so she had a bit of advantage in tackling the hilly double loop course.
The Boys race was more of a workout for the heavily favored Cougars of QO. Led by Neal Darmody, Coach Pelkey’s boys worked on staying in “pack formation” during the double loop race. The second trip up the Smokey Glen hill proved a tough obstacle for many of the runners. Battle of the Potomac XC Champs’ Director Dave Watt commented that they (Hal Danoff, Bruce Gross and he) would look at adjusting the course to take a less severe or steep climb on the hill. Additional adjustments were made to place the finish line on a plain soon after a final dip and climb near the start area. QO ended the victor in both races.
Spectators were able to sit in a shaded area and see runners come by 6 times, a key benefit to the double loop 5K course. Parents and fans will be able to witness top flight cross country action on November 17th, when the "XC BORDER WAR 2" (Battle of the Potomac: MD vs VA) returns to Smokey Glen Farm.
Thanks to generous support from Nike and the Nike Running Group, this meet showcases the best in high school and youth fitness, namely high level cross country competition.
The Battle of the Potomac : MD vs. VA XC Championship Meet is a production of the nonprofit American Running Association (ARA). The meet’s mission is to showcase girls and boys cross country as a great means for all high school boys and girls to get in shape and avoid childhood overweight and the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. The 2nd Battle of the Potomac is scheduled for November 17, 2007 on Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg , MD. All proceeds benefit the runners in the race and future public awareness campaigns and programs by ARA for youth fitness.