Martin, Shields end season at State Meet

By on November 8, 2017
Warwick junior Noah Martin (right) closes ground against Spring-Ford’s Milan Sharma at the State Meet last Saturday. Martin ended up placing 100th overall in 17:11 in the race. Photo by Dick Wanner

Warwick junior Noah Martin (right) closes ground against Spring-Ford’s Milan Sharma at the State Meet last Saturday. Martin ended up placing 100th overall in 17:11 in the race. Photo by Dick Wanner

Start conservative, finish strong.

That was the game plan for Warwick juniors Noah Martin and Connor Shields last Saturday at the PIAA Cross Country Championships.

“We just didn’t want to hit the first mile too fast,” Shields said, “because the second mile is super hilly. We didn’t want to die on (the hills).”

The two Warrior runners did a solid job executing the strategy, enabling Martin to finish 100th in 17:11 and Shields to place 122nd in 17::20 at Parkview Cross Country Course in Hershey. There were 236 finishers in the boys Triple-A race.

“I wasn’t overly pleased, but I also wasn’t upset,” Martin said. “I was hoping for under 17 (minutes). I ran 17:11 and that’s fine.”

“Nothing special, but nothing to be ashamed of,” Shields added.

Warwick coach Matt Bomberger, though, was more upbeat about how his two athletes raced.

“Very good,” he said. “The consistency of the State is very strong right now, and on a course like this, finishing in the low 17s from where these guys have been all season is good. I have a good feeling that good things are happening. I’m happy.”

Neshaminy senior Rusty Kujdych took home the State gold in 15:47, passing through the one-mile mark in a quick time of 4:55.

Photo by Dick Wanner

Photo by Dick Wanner

At that point, Martin and Shields were roughly half a minute off the pace, in the 174th position in 5:22 and 194th in 15:25, respectively.

“Maybe a little conservative, but nothing major,” Shields remarked.

“They kinda came in with some goals of breaking 17:00,” Bomberger said. “I told them that it was very attainable, they had to pace well, and not get too excited coming off the start because the start can go out really quick.”

Over the final two miles, Martin overtook 74 runners, while Shields passed 72 others.

“That kind of pacing is very strong,” Bomberger said. “They ran the race much steadier than the bulk of the guys in the race. Cracking the top 100 in the State, that’s a good way to finish.”

“I thought after the second mile, around there,” Shields said, “I could have picked it up a little more and passed some more people, but overall, I thought the finish was pretty strong.”

It will certainly be valuable experience for Martin and Shields, with both returning again in 2018.

“We want to be here next year as a team, that’s the goal,” Bomberger said. “I told these guys before they started, there’s no pressure on their shoulders to perform to anything — just that they’re here, they’re running solid, and they’re gaining the experience for next year when they’re bringing guys along with them.”

 

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