Men’s cross-country finishes eighth in the state

Junior Michael Vernau leads the Blue Devils to an eighth-place finish at the California state meet on Saturday, Nov. 28. Vernau finished eighth individually as well. (Courtesy photo: C. Gregg)

By Abbey Fisk, Staff–

Runners on the Davis High men’s cross-country team gave it all they had on Saturday, Nov. 28 at California State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Clovis, Calif., finishing 8th overall. 

“I would say it was a solid effort,” said junior Michael Vernau, who finished eighth individually in the Division 1 race with a time of 15:07.  Vernau was only 1.4 seconds away from earning a spot to the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Portland, Ore. next Saturday, but instead will be attending the Foot Locker West Regional meet at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.

“I will be going to Foot Locker and hopefully representing the West alongside [eventual race winner] Phillip Rocha in San Diego,” Vernau said.

If Vernau finishes in the top 10 at the West Regional race, he will qualify for the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships at Balboa Park in San Diego on Saturday, Dec. 12. 

The men’s team has been suffering all year from injuries and a lack of depth.  Hardest on the Devils was the loss of one of their top runners: senior Ben Roberts, the school record holder at 1600-meters. Similar to last cross-country season, Roberts was sidelined by a condition called Snapping Hip Syndrome, and was unable to race all year.  

“Our team had some lofty goals the beginning of this season that were stifled by some major injuries,”said senior Nick Borowsky, who placed third for Davis and 29th overall in a time of 15:42–a nine-second personal record. “My race went as well as I could have anticipated.”

With obstacles such as Roberts’ injury and senior Willie Hall’s frequent migraines, preparing for races throughout the season has been difficult. 

“For myself and Willie [we spent] a better part of the season figuring out a race routine that would work with our own obstacles,” Borowsky said.

Fortunately, Hall–who had to drop out of several races earlier in the season–wore earplugs on Saturday to block out the noise, which he thinks contributes to the migraines. Hall was able to finish the race and was fifth for DHS in 16:43.

With Roberts sidelined indefinitely and Hall unreliable at times, the Devils tried out a remarkable eight different lineups this season, shuffling around sixth and seventh runners in an attempt to fill the gap. Of these, senior Brendan Deas–the team’s seventh runner at the state meet–was the only seventh runner all year to break 18 minutes. Deas ran 17:31, a 43-second personal record.

Vernau agreed with Borowsky’s appraisal of the situation.

“Our team is missing too many key members to function at a high level,” he said.

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