By Dennis Atwood - email@example.com
QUICKSBURG -- Strasburg's Anthony Wallis finished second overall, and the Rams' Kirsten Campbell placed fourth overall in the girls event, in the 15th Annual Stonewall Jackson Invitational cross country meet Saturday at the historic New Market Battlefield Park course. Central's girls took second place, while Strasburg's boys were fourth.
Twenty-six schools, and more than 600 runners, participated in the event over the 3.2 mile course.
The weather was ideal for runners, but the computer support was sub-standard.
The meet started as scheduled, but on-scene computer problems resulted in no official runners' times, or team standing results, being available for the awards ceremony, and the final results weren't finished until late Sunday night.
The meet is organized into Blue (seven Group AA schools) and Grey (19 Group A and private schools) divisions for team results, with trophies to be awarded to the top three teams in each division.
James Wood took the boys overall first place trophy with 48 points, while Fauquier took second with 81, and Wilson Memorial's 89 put them in third place.
Strasburg was fourth (164), Central fifth (188), Stonewall Jackson 12th (310), and Randolph-Macon Academy 15th (405).
Individual runners competed in boys and girls events, with times sorted into Blue and Grey divisions. The top-20 medals were awarded (without times announced) in each division, and overall top finishers also announced.
Strasburg's Wallis crossed the finish line at 17:40 (all times unofficial), and Campbell had a 21:36 outing.
Wallis, a senior, ran the first mile in 5:20, and finished 24 seconds better than his 2011 time, but 14 seconds behind Daniel Aldstadt's (James Wood) 17:26 first-place finish.
Aldstadt's run was erroneously announced as a new course record, but the meet director later clarified that Alex Ott's (Tuner Ashby) 2007 mark of 17:18 remained unbroken.
"I was planning on going a lot faster than this, but the course kinda got to me," Wallis said. "I guess I wasn't feeling as good as I thought I was. But it was a good race, with my time better than last year.
"I thought I was on-pace until I got to the two-mile marker and when I got my split, it was way off. It was downhill [between miles one and two], so I don't know how it happened. [Aldstadt] really broke ahead of me right after the two-mile mark.
"My personal best was 16.53, two weeks ago, at William Monroe. So I feel I can go a whole lot faster [than today]."
Mark Colson's 18:32 took sixth place in the Grey Division for the Rams.
The top girls team overall trophy went to Wilson Memorial (88). Central's 103 took second place, Strasburg took third with 109, and Stonewall Jackson was ninth (239).
Campbell, a senior, was in second place at both the one-mile (6:31) and two-mile (13:13) segments, then fell off the pace. Amber Hawkins, also of James Wood, took the girls' championship at 20:21.
Campbell's teammate, senior Sara Elbon, picked up fifth place for Strasburg with a 21:54 run.
"It's a really, really tough course," Campbell said. "It's 3.2 miles, so obviously it takes a lot more endurance [than the typical 5K courses]. I pushed myself as hard as I could. The training's been spot-on. Coach [Jeff] Rudy's been doing a wonderful job."
Central's (Grey Division) best boys runners were Tony Whetzel (19:03, ninth), Jason Ruckman (19:04, 10th), and Ryan Freiwald (19:23, 15th).
Falcons girls' medalists were Heather Landes (22:05, sixth), Lexi Keller (22:43,13th), Elsa Garcia (22:47, 14th), and Katie Ritenour (23:16, 20th).
Stonewall Jackson's (Grey Division) best efforts for girls were turned in by Ashton Davis, with a new school record 22:12 in eighth place, and Cristy Lazaro-Luna (23:08, 18th), while Jeremiah Hines (19:24) finished 16th among the boys.
Randolph-Macon Academy had success from an underclassman, as freshman Thomas Shea clocked-in at 19:11 to take 11th in the Grey Division boys race.
"That was close to my time in my last race, but I'm trying to improve it," Shea said. "The course is not too difficult. The hill is pretty gradual. But the downhill finish is nice. My strategy was to try to stay in the top 30."