Snyder, Murray lead Daniel Boone to successful quad meet

SHILLINGTON — It was the toughest challenge Abby Snyder faced in her four-year cross country career.

As the Daniel Boone girls teams’ top runner this season it was up to the Blazers senior to set the tone in a crucial Berks Conference quad cross country meet featuring Daniel Boone, Wilson, Fleetwood and host Governor Mifflin at the Shillington Park course.

The Boone, Wilson, and Governor Mifflin girls all were coming in undefeated at 9-0.

Governor Mifflin swept the girls race, beating Boone 20-39, Wilson 24-35, and Fleetwood 15-50.

But that was the Boone girls only loss in that quad meet as the Blazers held off Wilson, 28-29, and beat Fleetwood, 15-49, with its season record now, 11-1.

And it was Snyder leading the Blazers in an impressive way, crossing second with a 19:51 behind Wilson sophomore standout Alison Willingmyre (19:32).

“I was really nervous on the starting line, but I had a supportive team, telling me that I could do it and encouraging me,’ Snyder said moments after the race.

“It was definitely nerve wracking, but I did what I could and I couldn’t have done anything else. I do feel more like a leader this year, but I have a great team, so it’s really a team effort in everything we do. We all work together very well, and it doesn’t feel like I’m controlling or forcing them to do anything.

“Today I knew the Wilson girl (Willingmyre) was going to be really tough to beat. She is a really strong runner even as a sophomore and has been doing amazing. And I also knew there was going to be other tough competition from the Mifflin girls. But my goal was just to be with them as long as I could and finish however best I could.’

And, of course, her team’s finish was very much on her mind. Last year the Boone girls lone Berks Conference loss was to Governor Mifflin, and with this their lone loss, the Blazers have one more league quad meet on the schedule for next week.

Junior Rachel Eidson was the Boone girls second runner across at 11th (20:57), and has been regularly second behind Snyder on the team this year.

Eidson may be a junior, but this is her first year running cross country.

“My freshman and sophomore year I was going on this antibiotic medicine that doctors told me would enable my muscles,’ Eidson explained. “So I didn’t run my freshman and sophomore year because I was told not to do any vigorous activities.’

Eidson sure has made up for lost time this year.

“This was a hard race and here was this big picture that we were going against two other undefeated teams,’ she said. “I felt a lot of pressure and it got to me mentally, but I did the best I could. And wherever we finish today, it really doesn’t matter because we have a really great team with a lot of passion.’

On the boys side, freshman Zach Murray was the first Blazer across at 15th with an 18:33.

The Blazers (5-7) beat Fleetwood, 20-41, but lost to Governor Mifflin 15-42, and to Wilson, 15-50.

But Murray’s finish in this tough field, and ahead of his more experienced Blazers team, served notice that the freshman is the one to watch on this Boone team in the years to come.

“It feels amazing,’ Murray said. “I’ve only not beaten one guy on our team this year and I told myself today that I wanted to beat him. And I did.

“So far, I couldn’t have asked for a better season. My teammates are what drive me. A great group of guys, I love them all.’

Murray admitted that the Blazers girls better record drives the boys team.

“It made us mad that they girls were undefeated, so we try harder,’ Murray said.

Blazers junior Aaron Higgins crossed not far behind Murray at 16th with an 18:44, with sophomore Ethan Shane 18th with an 18:50.

“For me, basically, (it was) just another dual meet,’ Shane said. “But I do like the bigger meets because that’s going to push you harder. We want to qualify for districts, and it would be great to also make it to states.’

Governor Mifflin has hosted quad league meets before, but this was the first one at Shillington Park, and there will be more to come from now on, said Boone cross country head coach Russell Keith.

And he liked what he saw from both his teams on Tuesday.

“I was glad we got to run Mifflin and Wilson the same day,’ Keith said. “It was kind of nice to have three undefeated teams in one meet. You usually don’t see things like that. So that was pretty cool.

“We lost some good girl runners from last year, but Abby is doing a great job leading the team, had a grace race today. The girls in this race were the top girls in the county, so she held her own today, got second. She stepped it up.’

And Keith was just as impressed with his freshman top boy runner Murray.

“Zach is totally new to running, just started this summer,’ Keith said. “Never ran track or cross country before, so a lot of talent there. And he’s a super kid.

“Our boys are a very young team, but are getting better every meet. I was pleased with the performances from both our teams today.’

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