UPPER PROVIDENCE — Liam Galligan felt the cramp coming on as he headed for the finish line in the boys’ small schools varsity race at the 25th Bulldog Cross Country Invitational at Rose Tree Park’s Hurricane Floyd Course Saturday.
“I would have liked to be able to catch (winner Julian Degroot-Lutzner of Philadelphia’s Masterman School),’ said Galligan, a Springfield High sophomore. “When I saw that I couldn’t, I just had to finish as best I could.’
Galligan ended up runnerup, 10 seconds behind Degroot-Lutzner. Springfield senior Justin Miller placed fifth, while senior Connor Holm of Radnor (ninth) and Strath Haven junior Conan Beckley-Gray was 10th. Delaware County Christian School senior Ian Reid took 11th place, six seconds behind Beckley-Gray.
Strath Haven finished third in the team scoring behind Bishop Shanahan and Harriton. Radnor took fifth place, Delaware County Christian was eighth and Interboro came in 10th.
“My coach wanted me to stay inside the front pack (for the first mile),’ said Galligan, whose sister, Grace, an 2013 All-Delco selection, placed fifth at the Bulldog as a senior a year ago.
“I took it out harder at the two-mile hill, and I finished with a (personal-best time of 16:31).’
Miller came within a second of grabbing fourth place.
“I’m a one-pace runner,’ he said. “I can run at the same pace for 10 or 15 miles. I think running five days a week helped me get better during the summer.’
Miller, who hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy or Georgetown University, has spent time working as an intern with Congressman Pat Meehan (R-7).
“I think it would be great to work for the State Department some day,’ he said.
Radnor’s Holm finished just ahead of Haven’s Beckley-Gray as the two rounded out the top 10 finishers.
“I had (mononucleosis) this summer,’ Holm said. “I’m still trying to get back in shape.’
Beckley-Gray had a long day Friday. After classes ended in the afternoon, he had to get ready for the Haven band’s trip to the football game at Penncrest.
“I felt a little fatigued today,’ the first-year runner said. “I tried to get out strong and hold on through to the finish.’
Among the other medalists in the small schools race were Ian Reid of Strath Haven (12th), Radnor’s Andre Kelly (14th), Greg Kotchick of Strath Haven (15th), Sun Valley’s Zack Bush (16th), Matthew Fohner of Archbishop Carroll (20th), Radnor’s Henry Minning (22nd), and Jonathan Eng of Strath Haven (25th).
Senior Ryan Rucker of Chester High (23rd), who was second in the Glen Mills Invitational earlier in the week, was the top county finisher in the boys’ large schools race. John Li of Upper Darby came in 28th, one place ahead of teammate Nathan Pearson.
Bensalem, led by individual champion Jeff Kirshenbaum, was the team champion, with Upper Darby finishing seventh and Chester taking 10th place.
“I want to try to keep getting my times down lower,’ said Rucker, who played quarterback for the Chester Panthers as a youth football player.
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