St. Xavier and St. Ursula win the Prime Time
August 25, 2013Cincinnati Moeller High School
Article and Photo by Chase Howell, Enquirer Contributor
St. Xavier and St. Ursula win the Prime Time Invitational
Years ago, Jay McCarty, a parent of a Moeller cross country runner, had a vision. A passionate cross country fan, he wanted to host an event that would draw runners from all across the area, from junior high to the collegiate level.
While the Moeller “Primetime” Invitational is open to high schools and middle schools only, one can imagine how proud McCarty would be to see the turnout of young runners and parents at The Golf Center at Kings Island Friday night.
Instead of the usual nine irons and golf cars, Asics shoes and running shorts took over the Bruin Course for the fourth straight year.
“Jay McCarty, who unfortunately passed away last year before our race, had a dream and a vision of having this event,” Moeller assistant cross country coach Charlie Lytle said. “His idea was to get it at a place where you’re not on the road, and he wanted it to be fan friendly.”
McCarty passed away before the 2012 meet after a long battle with cancer. The varsity boys’ first place trophy is named in honor of him.
When walking onto the course, the Linder Family Tennis Center and Kings Island roller coasters sit in the backdrop as young runners coast over the rolling hills of the fairways.
“Being on a golf course, the race is super smooth and easy to run,” Lytle said. “It’s also really great for the fans. They can come and stand on a rise, look out and see their kid three or four times.”
McCarty’s dream of a fan-friendly race certainly could be seen at the course, with parents and friends lining the rough and filing around “tent city,” where brightly colored canopies from each school shielded cooling runners from the setting sun.
Junior high races opened the event at 5:30 p.m., giving young runners the opportunity to experience a marquee race.
“It’s always good for young runners to come out and see other runners, especially the high school kids, to see how they run, how they prepare, and they take care of their body in terms of nutrition, and so forth,” Lytle said.
As the sun set on the golf course, anticipation for the “primetime” events continued to build.
“The race is unique in the fact that it’s run during at night under the lights,” Lytle said. “It’s grown into one of the largest regional meets here in the city, and is definitely a great way to start off the season competing with some very high quality teams.”
The girls’ varsity race resulted in a repeat victory for St. Ursula junior Annie Heffernan, who defended her title with a time of 17 minutes, 56.5 seconds. Defending state champion Jacuelyn Crow, a Lebanon senior, finished second with a time of 19:00.83.
“I love running under the lights, it’s just different,” Heffernan said of her repeat. “It can’t tell you a lot about the end of the season, but we get a lot of momentum here.”
St. Ursula won the meet with a team score of 53, edging out Alter with a score of 74.
In the boy’s race, St. Xavier again showed its dominance on the course. Senior Evan Stifel recorded a time of 16:09.49, finishing nearly side-by-side with his Bomber teammate, junior Michael Vitucci.
“There’s a lot of anticipation getting back into it, first race alongside my great teammate and one of my best friends Mike Vitucci,” Stifel said. “I’m really excited for the rest of the season.”
St. Xavier runners finished in eight of the top 10 spots, securing the McCarty Cup once again with a team score of 21.
Participating high school teams included Alter, Badin, Chaminade Juliene, Cincinnati Christian, DePaul Christo Rey, Eaton, Fenwick, Lebanon, Little Miami, host Moeller, Northeastern-Springfield, Purcell Marian, Roger Bacon, St. Ursula, St. Xavier, Seton, Talawanda, Taylor and Troy.
As the lights go out on The Golf Center of Kings Island for another year, the defending champs will use the momentum of a “primetime” victory as they head into the 2013 season.