The Eagle cross country teams traveled for the 3rd time to the prestigious Knights Crossing Cross Country Invitational in Salem, VA. The meet, hosted by Cave Spring HS, was run on the Virginia State meet championship course, and Milton came away with three, top-3 team finishes against some of the best programs in the nation.
The Lady Eagles led the day off with a hard-fought 3rd place team finish to defeat 38 scoring schools in one of the best early season meets on the east coast of the USA. Milton (199 pts) fell to Dobyns-Bennett (TN) & nationally-ranked Blacksburg (VA) while upsetting the strong programs from Cardinal-Gibbons (NC) & Reagan (NC) to garner a team trophy! Senior Nyah Hernandez led the Lady Eagles & was in the top-5 most of the race before settling for a big 10th place finish in 18:59 while defeating 323 competitors! Junior Audrey Nichols (24th-19:59) dropped a 20-second personal best as senior co-captain Abby Rindt (42nd-20:35) & freshman Annalise Crow (45th-20:40) garnered many valuable spots to push Milton up in the team race and sophomore Jessica Albregts (92nd-21:46) closed out the team scoring.
Milton (8th-331 pts) defeated 32 schools in one of the most competitive races they will run all season. Defending Virginia boys state large-school classification champions Oakton, were easy winners over the McCallie School (TN) and North Carolina's Cardinal-Gibbons. The Eagles were led by junior Hayden Marshall (14th-16:23) in his 3rd best performance for that distance. Marshall was able to move up through the field as the race progressed to lead Milton's contingent. Senior co-captain's Spencer Watry (38th-17:01) & Joe Pick (62nd-17:25) followed. Juniors Jack Petkash (106th-18:10) & Connor Brunson (113th-18:14) concluded the Eagle scorers.
In the most outstanding race of the day for Milton (1st-33 pts), the Lady Eagles dispatched 8 schools to take top-honors! Top North Carolina programs Cardinal-Gibbons was 2nd & Reagan placed 3rd. Milton had previously been 3rd in their two previous trips to this meet in this division and this time raced to victory! Sophomore Maddie Robertson (3rd-22:11) challenged for runner-up honors the entire race and led the Lady Eagle effort. Junior Audrey Minton (4th-22:25) again was a top-finisher for Milton. A big surprise was senior Palak Mahajan (7th-22:34) and along with junior Natalie Ventura (8th-22:48) help put four Lady Eagle finishers in the top-10 overall finishing positions.
Milton (3rd-65 pts) came from behind to garner the final team trophy of the race to defeat 17 scoring schools! Blacksburg (VA) narrowly defeated Reagan (NC) even though Reagan had its top-4 finishers in the top-9 overall spots.. The Eagles used a pack-running effort to place five finishers ahead of Oakton to defeat the Cougars. Junior Lorin Tady (10th-18:32) led the charge as fellow juniors Ryan Braswell (13th-18:42) & Brendan Trainor (14th-18:43) provided Milton a strong 1-2-3 finish for the Eagles. But the story was the group or "pack" of junior Payton Massey (16th-18:45), freshman Cory Chambers (17th-18:45) and sophomore Andrew Baum (20th-18:49) all passing Oakton's third runner in the final 200 meters for the final team trophy!