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Members of the Stephen Decatur girls’ cross country team celebrate after their second-place finish last Wednesday in the Rumble in the Jungle competition in Cambridge. Pictured, from left, are sophomores Amalia Murphy and Avery Braciszewski, junior Devon Kramer, freshman Mackenzie Cathell, senior Ellie Dutton, junior Mary Mergott and senior Mikayla Denault.

(Sept. 27, 2019) The Stephen Decatur and Worcester Prep cross country teams joined more than a dozen other schools for the annual Rumble in the Jungle competition, last Wednesday in Cambridge.

“I was really pleased with the results at the Rumble in the Jungle last week,” said Decatur Coach Jody Stigler. “The girls’ team came in second, which I thought was very encouraging early in the season.”

Leading the Lady Seahawks was junior Mary Mergott, who finished in fifth place overall (20:53.10).

Rounding out the top five Decatur athletes were: junior Devon Kramer (10th, 21:30.20), freshman Mackenzie Cathell (19th, 22:56.30), sophomore Avery Braciszewski (20th, 22:56.40) and senior Elizabeth Dutton (21st, 22:58.60).

“I thought all of our girls ran as well or better than I expected,” Stigler said. “Individually, I thought Devon ran her best race at RITJ, but the other girls were not far behind her in terms of performance.”

Kent Island won the girls’ race, scoring 30 points. Decatur tallied 61 points.

Worcester Prep came in eighth with 223 points.

Sophomore Myranda Beebe was the first Lady Mallard to cross the finish line. She tied for 15th overall (22:23.50).

Also scoring points for Worcester were: freshmen Caitlyn Hoen (40th, 24:36.90) and Linley Hill (56th, 25:55.30), senior Quinn McColgan (82nd, 29:11.10) and junior Lexi Willey (88th, 31:21.50).

“The girls team really stepped up,” said Prep Coach Keith Geiger. “We still haven’t finished a race with our top girls [because of injuries], so the bottom half of the girls’ team were very gutsy.

“Myranda had a great race after being injured for the week before, and freshman Caityln Hoen surprised me. She ran a great race and looked in control and confident,” Geiger added.

The Decatur boys’ team finished in sixth place with 180 points. Kent Island took top honors, scoring 29 points.

Senior Sam Rakowski was the first Decatur runner to cross the finish line. He placed 20th overall (18:52.40).

He was followed by sophomores Sam Woodley (29th, 19:09.60) and Tristan Dutton (34th, 19:22.50) and juniors Liam Foley (51st, 20:17.10) and Philip Becnel (53rd, 20:22.60).

“The boys did OK as well, but I think the girls’ team overall is a little ahead of the boys at this point,” Stigler said. “We definitely have seen some improvement from the team in the last few weeks. It’s harder to tell in cross country sometimes than in track because all of the courses are different (hills vs. no hills, etc).”

Worcester Prep finished in seventh place with 203 points.

Scoring points for the Mallards were: juniors Graham McColgan (11th, 18:17.20) and Connor Carpenter (26th, 19:02.80), seniors Frank Carter (48th, 20:04.40) and Gavin Hentschel (61st, 20:31.80) and sophomore Nick Hearne (76th, 21:09.90).

“The boys took seventh, which was a fantastic result,” Geiger said. “We are such a small school, so for us to place that high means we are on the right track and improving year to year. Graham McColgan once again set the standard and took 11th overall. Connor Carpenter has been steady for the last three years and continues to run really well for us.”

Male and female runners who placed 25th or better received medals.

Decatur also competed in the Bull Run Invitational a few days later, held last Saturday at Hereford High School.

“I wanted to do Bull Run this year to try to get our runners out of their comfort zone. The course at Hereford is challenging and the competition is really strong (there are over 100 teams) and it is runners and teams that we do not normally go against,” Stigler said. “The course at Hereford is similar in difficulty to our home course. My goal was for everyone to just beat their time that they ran at our home course in the first meet and basically everyone did that so I was pleased with the performance in that respect.”

The girls’ team finished 13th overall in the medium varsity division. The first five Seahawks to cross the finish line were: Mergott (38th, 23:53), Dutton (60th, 25:56) senior Mikayla Denault (61st, 26:07), Cathell (70th, 27:05) and Braciszewski (72nd, 27:08).

The boys’ squad came in 19th in its division. The top five Decatur finishers were: Woodley (69th, 20:16), Dutton (93rd, 20:51), junior Silas Cascio (124th, 22:51), Becnel (127th, 23:04) and sophomore Jake Banks (128th, 23:10).

Both Worcester Prep and Decatur will participate in the Tidewater Invitational on Wednesday in Salisbury. The races kick off at 3:30 p.m.

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