By Tommy Keeler Jr.
NEW MARKET -- Strasburg had runners out on both the boys and girls side, but the Rams didn't let that slow them down.
Strasburg finished second in both events in the Conference 35 meet held at the New Market Battlefield course on Wednesday.
The Rams were led by Max Middleton, who won the boys race in a time of 18:10.
"It really feels good," Middleton said. "If I had got second I would have been beating myself up about it."
Stonewall Jackson's Ashton Davis finished second in the girls race in a time of 21:37, as she broke her own school record.
"My goal was to beat my record, and that's what I did," Davis said. "So I'm happy with that."
Middleton, a sophomore, started off a little slow, but then picked it up to win by 10 seconds over George Mason's Truman Custer.
"I was really tired at first," Middleton said. "And then I just realized I just got a mile left."
The Rams were without No. 2 runner Timothy Wallis, who was out with an injury.
Strasburg's Nic Campbell finished sixth in a time of 19:08.
"I knew it was a conference meet, this decides whether you advance or you don't," Campbell said. "I just had to go out and get as many places as I can for my team."
Strasburg freshman Nealon Davis placed 10th (19:32), freshman Dylan Campbell was 14th (19:42) and sophomore Brian Scholten (19:47) was 15th.
"It was a great effort for the entire boys team to finish second today," Strasburg coach Jeff Rudy said.
It was much of the same in the girls race. Strasburg's top runer Morgan Carter was also out due to injury, but the team stepped up to finish second as a team.
"Freshman Caroline Miller did a nice job stepping into the No. 1 spot for us. She ran a really nice race," Rudy said. "I can't say enough about Rachel Tischler, who had to move into the No. 5 spot. Rachel did a great job for us."
Davis led at the start of the race, but was passed by George Mason's Blaise Sevier on the second mile. Sevier held on to win the race in a time of 21:26.
"That's the toughest part of the course," Davis said of the second mile."Coming in and finishing the second mile, going up the hill into the third [mile]. We worked a lot this week on that, so I feel like I did a little bit better than I usually do on that. And that's probably why my time improved."
Stonewall Jackson freshman Brandy Webb finished fourth in a time of 22:24.
"I just had to push myself, because I knew that I really wanted to go to regionals," Webb said. "It feels great. I've come a long way since last year."
Miller finished 10th for the Rams in a time of 23:04. Strasburg's Sarah Peer was 12th (23:20), followed by teammates Cheyenne Combs (16th, 23:36), Haley Garrett (20th, 23:55) and Tischler (25th, 24:44).
The top four teams and top 15 individuals advanced to next week's Class 2A East regional at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville. George Mason won the girls meet with 27 points, followed by Strasburg (83), Clarke County (91) and Madison County (102). Stonewall Jackson was sixth with 134 points.
In the boys meet, George Mason was first with 36 points, followed by Strasburg (46), Clarke County (75) and Madison County (115). Stonewall Jackson finished fifth with 123 points.
Even though the team didn't advance, Stonewall Jackson's Pedro Jacuinde was 12th (19:36) and will run in next week's regional meet.
"We are just thrilled to get him to the next level," Stonewall Jackson coach Mary Clanahan said. "When you come in with Strasburg and Clarke and Madison and Mason and for him to crack that 15 we're thrilled. We're really pleased with him."
Rudy said that both Wallis and Carter should be back for next week's regional meet.
"We should be back at full strength, and we're looking forward to the East regional," Rudy said.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd