Running alone for most of the race because his principal foil was sick, Pat Hally of Salesianum accelerated on every hill at Winterthur to win the New Castle County championship and break the course record.
Stephen Garrett of Tatnall earned second with a strong finish. Thomas Connelly of Wilmington Friends also broke 16 minutes after dueling for the lead through the first 3,000 meters. Tatnall’s Jack Hagood, last year’s winner, slowed by flu, was fourth. Tatnall earned its fifth straight team title at the meet.
“It’s been handed down to us,” said senior Henry Paul. “It’s our job to take it to the next year.”
Hally has been at or near the top of every race but knew that the race’s four top runners have beaten each other at some point.
“I needed to take the lead and try to make it my race,” Hally said. “You never know where second and third runners are. Thomas helped me the whole race. I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Hally’s 15:32.35 was a half-second faster than the 2005 performance of Brian Sklodowski of Tatnall in the first race at Winterthur.
“I think I’m better on hills. I consider myself a strength runner,” said Hally, who is gunning to make the top five in the southeast regionals in four weeks, which would qualify him for the national championship.
Connelly said he enjoys the atmosphere at the course.
“At every turn there are people for you. It’s such an auditory race. You can hear people saying, ‘Go Pat, Go Tom.’
“The downhill gives you an advantage if you’re in front. Pat had the same plan,” Connelly said. “He surged on the hill, like I wanted to. He ran such a smart race. He was bold enough to take it out fast. It paid off for him.”
The Hornets overwhelmed the field. Joey Garrett (seventh), Patrick Lynch (10th), Paul (18th) and Michael Flanagan (19th) gave the Hornets a 30-point cushion. Led by Howard Daniels, whose time would have placed him 28th among varsity runners, the Hornets won the JV race.
“The danger in this course is to go out too fast,” Garrett said. “This course keeps you honest.”
Newark, led by Jarod Wilson (ninth), Andrew Milham (12th), Chris Kitson (13th) and Brandon Holveck (16th), placed five in the top 22 to take second, the Yellowjackets’ best ever finish.
“Every place matters,” Milham said. “We know that our goal takes seven runners.”
Kieran Tuntivate (fifth), Kevin Murray (sixth) and Damien Sorouri (17th) led Charter to third. St. Mark’s Mark Corrigan (eighth), Alex McIlvaine of St. Andrew’s (11th), Brandywine’s Eamon McCoy (14th), Thomas Higley (15th) of fourth-place Salesianum and Brendan Harris of Tower Hill also made the top 20.