Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski

Mattoon’s Brock Davee has seen more than enough of Flora’s Isaac Stanford for his liking this season.

Davee, the Green Wave’s leading cross country runner, found himself seeing the backside of Stanford going into the last mile, and that was enough.

“Everytime I race him, I tell him I hate racing him,” Davee said. “He always challenges me and I hate that. I like having it easy. He always gives me a run for my money. I’m so glad that he does it, though, because we run well together.”

The senior Green Wave runner made up a 60-meter deficit to Stanford and passed him at the last mile marker, outpacing the Flora runner to win the Bulldog XC Invitational in Effingham with a time of 16:22.41 – 22 seconds ahead of Stanford.

The two leaders were followed by Olympia’s Logan Demling(16:59.08), Owen Dare (17:06.79) and St. Anthony’s Griffen Elder (17.13.28).

Davee said Stanford surged on him about a mile and half in after putting together a 5:05 first mile.

“I was like ‘Dang maybe he’s got it in him today,'” Davee said. “He’s had a good breakfast or something. He just broke me through mile one and two. My coach was telling me that he was looking back and he’s hurting. I thought ‘Oh, that’s good. Maybe I can get him.’ Eventually, I surged on him and got right next to him and he tried sticking with me for a little while. As soon as I got past him, he was so out of it by then.”

“He stayed in and continued to work and reap the benefits of that,” Mattoon cross country coach Troy Haacke said. “I told to him to stay relaxed. Brock, like most athletes of his caliber, is a very intense competitor. So early in the race you don’t want him burning up energy with that intensity. When he started to drift ahead of him, just stay in it, don’t give up on it. Keep an eye on his feet. Watch his turnover.”

Davee led the pack through the first two turns looking strong, but Stanford pulled ahead shortly after and the two jostled for positioning during the first half of the race. Stanford began to outpace the senior Green Wave runner heading into the last mile-and-half, eventually building up a 60-meter lead.

“One of Brock’s many attributes is that he has a head made of steel,” said Haacke. “You saw that today. He was fifty meters behind the leader at one point. For most runners, that’s a reason to give up. Brock knows that you just don’t give up in races because you do not know what’s going to happen in front of you.”

Davee, who adds this trophy to a growing list of wins this season at four, was pleased with his performance – especially by making up such a large distance.

“I’m pretty happy with it especially because I got the win coming back from being down 60-meters to Isaac,” he said. “Me and Isaac have been racing alot this year. We have been back and forth all year long. This is fifth or sixth race together. He’s beaten me a number of times and I’ve beaten him a number of times. I think this broke it and I’m up on him now.”

Davee thought if the rain hadn’t soaked the course at Sacred Heart Grade School he might have had a chance for a PR.

“If today was not like how it was, it would have been great course to PR on,” he said. “But since it’s been raining. There isn’t a wind block either so there were parts of the course where you go into a wind wall and it’s sloshy. It ruined it for you for your calves and quads.”

Davee doesn’t think he has to tweak anything as he prepares for the postseason.

“I think I’m ready,” he said. “I need to make sure I’m getting enough rest and eating right this week and getting enough water in me.”

“And not to do anything stupid with my friends and just stick with it right now. I have to wait three more weeks,” he said, laughing.

Haacke said he was pleased with the both the boys and girls team performance as the boys took third overall and the girls 15th.

“This time of year is about competing,” he said. “Put away the watches and catch the runner in front of you. Because in order to advance to the next level, your team scores have to come down. We tell the kids routinely after the first mile (that) there are only two people in the race – you and the person in front of you. Those are the only two in the race that matter. Our kids demonstrated that they don’t have time to be tired. That’s the mentality you need going into the postseason.”

Charleston’s top boys runner, senior Luca Carcasi, finished 11th with a time of 17:52.33.

“I think they did a great job of staying mentally engaged in moving up the last two miles, Luca Carcasi in particular,” Charleston boys cross country coach Greg Rogers said. “The biggest thing I wanted him to do today was to get out in a much better position than the past. Typically, he doesn’t get out in a good position. He was more aggressive in the start and I think that made a huge difference for him.”

For the Charleston girls,  freshman Amber Weiss led the team, finishing 26th with a time of 22:49.43.

“I was pretty happy with how they performed today,” Charleston girls cross country coach Chris Hawk said. “We were missing two of our top five and sent them out to rest for next week. Freshman Amber Weiss ran really well today being the top finisher for us today. That was nice to see her taking charge. Senior Lily Long came in right on her heels. The two of them were pushing them really well.”