But the Falcons weren't exactly jumping for joy.

By Allen Moff Record-Courier sports writer Published:

But the Falcons weren't exactly jumping for joy.

Actually, smiles were few and far between on either side after Field nipped the Red Devils, 27-29, Tuesday at Field High School in a meet that was even closer than the final score ... which, in this case, doesn't even begin to tell the story.

"I'm happy that we won," said Falcons coach Bill Huntington. "We knew if we ran well it would be close, probably two or three points either way. But this isn't how you're supposed to win."

The victory was "bittersweet" according to Huntington, due mainly to a bizarre incident involving Crestwood's top runner, senior Nathan McClintock.

McClintock was well out in front of Field's Chris Hudik until roughly the midway point of the race, when he made a wrong turn. Before anyone could get his attention, McClintock ran approximately 200 extra yards before getting back on course, allowing Hudik to pass him.

McClintock still recovered in time to take second in 17:31 but finished well behind Hudik, who won the meet in a course-record 16:35.

"I've never seen anyone run that far off course," said Crestwood coach Don Faix. "It was crazy. He was just so far ahead of everyone else that he couldn't hear anyone behind him."

McClintock was timed at 10:12 through two miles, and had a chance to break his personal-best time of 16:16 had he not strayed off course.

"It's too bad that happened," said Huntington. "Crestwood has a great team and Nathan is a great leader. He's probably one of the top five runners in the state."

Had McClintock won the race, the teams would have been tied at 28-28 and the winner would have been decided by the team's sixth runners. And the Falcons' sixth man, Nate Stansberry, had the best time.

But there's more.

What the meet would have actually come down to was a photo finish involving Field's Nate Hutchinson, who was awarded eighth place over a Crestwood runner even though both were timed in 18:14.

Ifs, buts and maybes were flying around the crowd following the meet. But in reality, only one fact truly matters: the Falcons did exactly what they had to do to defeat the Red Devils, whom they finished 40 points behind in a meet at Walsh Jesuit just last weekend.

"We needed five guys in front of their fourth man. That was our strategy," said Huntington. "We knew what we had to do and we did it."

Crestwood's Dan Lynch took third (17:34) and teammate Eric Berg finished fourth (17:35), but the Falcons swept the next four spots. Mike Hall was fifth (17:38) followed by Josh Ryan (17:47), Charlie Walker (18:06) and Hutchinson.

"We were at full strength today," said Huntington. "Hall and Ryan both play soccer and don't run in all the meets, but we knew we needed them today. Without them, we would have been in trouble."

The win gives the Falcons the inside track toward the PCL title, although Southeast and the PCL meet still stand in the way.

"It's definitely an important meet," said Huntington. "I'd have just rather won it the way you're supposed to."

In the girls meet, Falcons runners finished in six of the top seven spots as Field coasted to an 18-42 victory.

Sophomore Emily Mars led the entire way. She pulled away from teammate Kathy Shell and Crestwood's Jenny Schmidt in the final mile to win the race in 20:14.

"Emily finished 14th at state as a freshman, and she's a lot stronger now," said Huntington.

Shell took second (20:29) and Schmidt third (20:37) followed by Field's Michelle Moyers (21:29), Danielle Kuntzman (21:42), Heather Patch (21:47) and Shanna Craig (22:10).

"Our girls team is really on the upswing," said Huntington. "We just

don't want to get too complacent."

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