Murdock takes title at national x-c race

Steve Murdock had a good day in the mud of Portland, Ore. His Shenendehowa boys cross country teammates did not, though.

Murdock took the individual championship, while the Plainsmen running as the Clifton Park Track Club placed sixth at Saturday's Nike Team Nationals.

"I think it was a nice experience for the kids," said Shen coach Matt Jones. "It was probably not the best team race of the season for us, but it was a learning experience."

Murdock pulled away from the pack midway through the 5-kilometer race, which was held on the rain-soaked infield of Portland Meadows race course, and won with a time of 16:26.9. Benjamin Johnson of Academy Cross Country placed second with a time of 16:37.8.

"Steve had a great race," said Jones. "He ran smart and comfortably for the first 2,000 meters, and his plan was to run hard the last half of the race."

Zach Predmore placed 15th in a time of 17:03.6, but the gaps between Shen's first four runners grew from there. Adam Quinn placed 40th in a time of 17:35.6, and Thomas Soeller finished 66th in a time of 17:56.9.

Shen's fifth and sixth runners, Zac Suriano and Mike Danaher, helped the team earn its sixth-place finish. Suriano took 68th place with a time of 17:57.8, and Danaher finished 80th with a time of 18:07.9. Danaher's finish gave Shen the tiebreaker over Academy after both teams finished with 190 points.

Shen's cross country season is now over, but not for Murdock. The senior goes back to the West Coast this weekend for Saturday's Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego. Two other Section II runners " Guilderland's Brian Rhodes-Devey and Saratoga's Hannah Davidson " will also participate in the national high school race after placing at the Northeast regional qualifier two weeks ago.

"I think it's going to be a higher-level field (than the Nike Team Nationals)," said Jones. "Steve finishing fourth in the qualifier shows how much talent is ahead of him and how much talent is behind him.""

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